Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6, 2013 - Wreck of the Gamma (Insert Finding Nemo Reference Here)

So... Where are we again? George Town, Grand Cayman. How did we get here? Well, technically via airplane, but that would not have been at all possible without our two very good friends Jacki and Phil. Our friends were nice enough to fly us to the island and provide us with a condo to live in for the week that was right on the beach and provided hours of snorkeling and picture taking under the water. They were awesome hosts and took everywhere we wanted to see and fed us well on local food and drink. I cannot thank them enough and words simply don't express my gratitude. I love you guys.

I'd also like to thank our network of fellow homeschoolers and relatives that let our kids stay the night or just got them out of the house and fed them while we were gone. Thanks, in no particular order, to the Amos, Lackey, Boggan, Bothwell, Woods families and Granddad. Special thanks to KT for the underwater camera loan that allowed us to take so very many awesome pics of the sea life. Gold star for the MONTH.

And on with DAY TWO:

Back to the beach. The beach next to the condo is of two types: the sandy and full of crunchy pieces of coral type and the iron shore that is like walking on a floor covered in titanium Lego bricks. Also it's covered in snails so the whole time you're trying to walk on it you're killing little creatures. SO DON'T WALK ON IT, TOURISTS. It does make for a nice contrast of texture from the sand to the water.

Snails, huddled  in fear of your tourist feet

Could be snail, could be hermit crab- NO WAY TO KNOW

Snails I've seen, crabs I've seen... This thing, not so much. This is a chiton. It looks like a pillbug and a slug where trapped over a long winter in a cabin in the woods and in Spring- this thing was being carried out by momma pillbug. It's practically a slug in plate mail.

It has a hard shell and what looks like a soft flappity edge around and below that. If ever there was an alien species hiding on our planet waiting for the time to jump into our brains and take over our bodies, it's the chiton. They've been around for about 400 million freaking years. If a chiton could look at you (it doesn't have any eyes to speak of) it would flip you the bird (no fingers either, it's a metaphor) and tell you to GET OFF MAH LAWN YOU CRAZY KID. 

Also, if you detach one from it surface that it's currently suckerfied to it can curl up into a little ball of hate and loathing. I could not remove one from the rock after about 5 seconds of trying moderately before I gave up and also secretly feared that it might have some sort of mouth with which to bite my fingers off, as so many of the sea creatures do.

Chiton, not to be confused with chitin or even the other chiton

Hermit crab moments before pincering off my finger

Esther slowly began to develop her hard chitinous shell over the next few days...

Esther and I had a second go at the whole swimming while wearing a tube in your face thing. This was more enjoyable for me because Esther released the secret method of defogging your mask while in the water. You let a little water in intentionally then turn your head to let the water clean off the fog. I tried it and HOLY COW THERE ARE FISH ALL IN THIS WATER.

Just hundred yards or so south of our condo right off the shore is the wreck of the Gamma a ship that ran ashore years ago. Hundreds of fish, schools and individuals, surround the rusted hull.

There is a pipefish just left of center in this picture- the long skinny one

This is a somewhat successful stitched panoramic of the shoreline.

Most of the rest of the day was spent, of all things, bowling. Jacki and Phil had agreed to go bowling with several of their friends and their kids so we tagged along as well. Surprisingly, considering my complete lack of athletic prowess, I won the first game. I have no photographic proof of this because it was dark, but Esther will back me up.

All the pictures of the day are right here.

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