Wanting to take advantage of it still being warm here, we headed out to the Te Angiangi Marine Reserve again (part 1 was last month). It was so much fun, I wanted to write about it once more because we found different stuff and we were almost a witness to a sheep falling off the cliff!
We got there around 10am and walked a bit farther than last time along the track. We could see Blackhead beach ahead of us and 4 wheelers and a few cars were driving toward us. I did notice a sign that said cars were not allowed to do this, but apparently others didn’t. Sometimes there was a rough track but it often dropped down to the shoreline. Something about cars on beaches that annoy me to no end.
We got to a small cliff and decided to walk the beach back which took quite a while since we wanted to explore the tidal pools. The water was nice and warm…all 3 inches of it!
I came across the head of a crayfish (or lobster) which reminded me of the ones in Australia which are called painted crayfish but these weren’t nearly as beautiful. What I hadn’t noticed before is that they have hair on them!
Check out those fine little feathery looking things…I’m not sure if “hair” is the correct term. Although there are a lot of hairy crabs here as well. I found a dead one chilling on a rock and saw a lot in the water blending in really well.
I was taking pictures of the cool trees up on the hill and I had noticed a bunch of sheep under that wind swept one. It made me think about the sheep bone I had found near the beach last time. It’s hard to show how steep it really was up there.
I wasn’t fast enough to catch what happened next. One of the sheep made a move and I saw its back end start to slip off of its ledge. She caught herself and watched the big chunks of rock and dirt fall and fall and fall. Lucky girl! That’s her looking down, probably pondering what would’ve happened. And you know me, I would’ve been scurrying over to help…if I could!
I kept an eye on her…looks like she’s kind of stuck in that spot!
I was inspecting the eroded spots by the beach and saw a small spider. Nothing too exciting there, but when I viewed the photo, I could see the silk coming out of its abdomen which I thought was pretty neat.
The paua shell sticking out of the sand was sure pretty.
More mudstone surrounded by the neat impressions in the sand which also made me think of Blacks Beach in Mackay.
But the real excitement began when we got back to the beach. For some reason, I never bothered inspecting the rocks that were sticking up here last time. We had been lying on the beach for a while and it got too hot so we headed to the water. I noticed a bunch of small, round jelly looking things with some tiny purple blob inside. At first, I thought they were jellyfish but there were no tentacles coming off of them. That made me think back again to Blacks Beach where I found the snail eggs and thought these were tiny snails in them. There are a lot of snails around, so it made sense.
However, upon further research, I came across that they might be salps and then saw this great blog post that talked about exactly what I had found. You can see from the closeup photo the distinct body in there. I wonder if these are babies because from what I can gather, these are really much larger and stick together. It looks like they’re encased in this jelly. The part you can see are actually the intestines. Now don’t hold me to this, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. They’re neat creatures, usually in a chain floating around together and they eat plankton while removing carbon from the water. You can read more about them here.
People have said they tend to show up on beaches when bad weather hits. The cyclone just went through the South Pacific and is headed our way tomorrow, so that might be it.
An edit on 12/12/2020:
I just got sent an email and it had this photo in it of a huge sea salp! How cool is THAT?
There were a bunch of crabs and a few weird black sea slugs (maybe sea hares?). It was wild how everything started coming to life once the tide came in.
But the coolest thing of all was watching this seven armed sea star crawl out beneath a rock and start looking for food. It was the largest one I’ve ever seen and it was cold and slimy! It even had spines on its arms. I took (a fairly bad) video of it as well. I believe the scientific name is Astrostole scabra.
We watched it as long as possible until the water got too deep. We’ll check for it again next time!
By 3pm, EVERYONE had left the beach…it was weird. We had the entire place to ourselves. We didn’t stay much longer though as we’d been there quite a while already and were getting hungry.
Oh, another thing I found were these:
At first I thought they were whale teeth, but found out those would be pointy. Then I thought maybe they were sheep teeth but they seem really large for that. They don’t look like shells or anything like that…they were found on the beach. Maybe they are remnants of the dead sheep…if anyone can ID them, chime in!
And a little bit of comic relief from the garden…I’ve started picking my carrots and after I tore the leaves off of this one, realized it looked like a half person! Although it also had a tail.
These are about the only two Cherokee Purple tomatoes that didn’t get completely messed up. Too bad…they’re really meaty and huge but I’ve had to throw away most of them so far because of sunburn/bugs/cracking.
We’re still being graced with great sunsets, too! No Photoshop needed.
We got a cold front in and I was worried summer was over. Thankfully, I was wrong! It’s been fairly unbearable in the house between 2:30-5:30 but I’m not complaining.
Until next time…