A few days ago we went to the Natural History and Arts Museum. First, we went to the ocean part of it. We saw one display about a prehistoric animal that had a very small hipbone.
You can see the hip bone on this animal.
Obviously it was evolving from a water animal to a land animal or a land animal to a water animal. We also saw displays about how apes evolved into humans.
Do you see the resemblance between my dad and the ape?
Then we went to the gems and minerals part of the museum. We saw the famous Hope Diamond.
Then we saw all of the other gems. There was one mineral there that glows when you shine a black light on it.
Phosphorescent rocks at the Natural History Museum.
There were really big gems too. This was also the museum that the movie Night at the Museum was filmed. My favorite display was the gems and minerals part. If you ever come to the Smithsonian, don’t forget to see the Hope Diamond.
Today I tied a monkey’s fist knot. This is what it looked like.
This knot can be used for hand to hand combat, especially if you make them with a weight in the middle. It can also be used in rock climbing by stuffing the knot into a crack to hold the line there. Its traditional use was one end of a line was tied to the boat and on the free end of the line you would attach a monkey’s fist to it. This made it easier to throw the line to other boats and you could throw the line farther.
Here are some steps on how to make them.
There are many kinds of fossilized shark teeth.
Sand tiger shark teeth.
Mako shark teeth.
Bull shark teeth.
A couple of days ago we went to Cumberland Island and that’s where we found fossilized shark teeth which are black. Fossilized shark teeth turn black because of the minerals they have in them.
There’s so many teeth at Cumberland Island, I found 53 teeth in all.
We used sifters to find them.
The first day was really hot so we came back later with umbrellas and more water.
Some sharks can lose up to 35,000 teeth in a lifetime! The most common kind of shark teeth people find are from the Cenozoic which was about 65 million years ago. The largest shark teeth of any kind is from the Megalodon shark.
This is a Megalodon compared to a T-Rex.
Their teeth can get up to 7 inches tall or more, but we didn’t find any of these. This picture is from the internet.
Cumberland Island was a lot of fun but digging for sharks teeth was the best part.
A few days ago in Saint Augustine, Florida, we went and saw a castle called Castillo de San Marcos. It was built in 1695 to protect St. Augustine which is actually the oldest city in the United States. It is a castle that has four corners and a courtyard in the middle. The four corners are filled with earth so they can support the weight of the cannons on top. The fort had a shot furnace. It’s like an oven that heats up cannon balls until they turn red. Then they shoot them at ships to burn them up.
They had a moat around the castle that they put water in when they were under land attack. When it was not filled with water, they put domestic animals in it. This is a video of the fort’s defenses.
The castle was made of coquina stone. Coquina stone is made of tiny sea shells smushed together.
A waterspout is basically a tornado over the water. Waterspouts usually occur in tropical areas. Two nights ago was a stormy night at Green Turtle Cay, Abacos (26°45’7.1″N 77°19’4.2″W), and that’s when we saw one. You could see lots of stuff flying around in it and we could see the waterspout spinning. Suddenly the temperature dropped about 15 degrees.
The waterspout started getting closer and looked like it was coming over the land toward us. Our boat neighbor Dave and his crew, Dennis, was with us at the time. Dave said, “Let’s get in my boat. Now.” We moved on to his boat which was heavier and more stable.
Dave is on the left and Dennis is seated next to him. This picture was taken inside their boat.
Dennis told us that his boat had once been pinned down at a 90 degree angle by a waterspout and was held there for 20 minutes. Dave and Dennis told us they have seen 10-15 waterspouts each during their years sailing, but this was the closest one they have seen.
Waterspout we saw off the back of our boat on Green Turtle Cay, Abacos, Bahamas.
After a while the waterspout dissipated and we went back to our boat. It was very exciting to see a water spout up close.
A couple of days ago we caught a shark sucker. On top of their head, they have an oval-shaped sucker that they use to suck on to the bottoms of boats, fish and sharks. After it got hooked on our lure, it sucked on to the bottom of the boat. When it let go, we reeled it up and put it in a bucket full of water. We looked at it and saw that its sucker was blue because that’s the paint color on the bottom of our boat. If you slide the shark sucker forward when it is sucked on it will come off. If you try to slide it backwards, it just sucks on more and does not move.
Some people use remoras to catch turtles. They tie a rope to the remora’s tail and when they see a turtle, the fish is released from the boat with the cord still on the tail. Usually the shark sucker heads toward the turtle and sucks on to it. Then the people on the boat pull in the line, which brings in the remora and the turtle.
The sucker is pretty much like a cheese grater. It feels smooth when you rub it one-way and raspy when you rub it the other way.
Shark Suckers are a remora. In Latin, remora means delay.
Shark sucker disk.
The bottom of our bucket is a piece of plexiglass so you can see through it. This picture was taken looking up at the bottom of the bucket so you can see their sucker.
Today we went to see the lighthouse being lit. The walls of the lighthouse were about five feet thick. Otherwise hurricanes might knock it over. Jeffery, the lighthouse keeper, told us it was one of only two lighthouses in that still run on kerosene.
Elbow Reef lighthouse on Elbow Cay
When we got to the top Jeffery put a flame under the main light source, he called it reheating. After he did that he opened up a valve and lit the main light.
The lighthouse gives five flashes of light and then a pause. It works that way because there are five Fresnel lenses that focus the light into five beams. The sixth lens reflects the light back to the source, that is the pause.
To turn the lenses Jeffery had to crank up some weights on cables to keep the lenses spinning. He has to go up every two hours to wind up the weights so he sleeps during the daytime.
The lighthouse was built in 1864 and so it is 149 years old.
Logan and Cole
A few days ago I put a message in a bottle on a crossing from Norman’s Cay in the Exumas to the Eleutheras.
Me with the message in a bottle I made.
I threw my bottle out to sea.
In less than a week, I received an email from a girl on a yacht. My message had been found!
Katie who found my message at Hawksbill Cay.
I released the message half way from Norman’s Cay to Eleuthera and it drifted 17 nautical miles to a beach at Hawksbill Cay. On the picture below the straight line is the course we took our boat on. The dotted line is where the bottle must have drifted. It was really cool to know that someone found my message. I’ll probably send out another message on one of our other crossings. I hope someone finds my next one too!
The reef rover is a miniature submarine that I made in the Bahamas. It is made of a small plastic bottle with a cap, flexible tubing, small rocks, waterproof tape, and caulking or modeling clay. You need a drill and water to test it in.
Cole with Reef Rover he made.
- Put enough rocks in the bottle to make it sink.
- Drill 2 holes in the cap for tubing.
- Cut a piece of tubing about twice the height of the bottle. Push it through one of the holes until it reaches the bottom of the bottle. Take the top half of the tubing, bend it down and tape it to the side of the bottle.
- Take about 4-5 feet of tubing and push it down the other hole about an inch.
Put your submarine in water. To make it sink, suck air through the tubing. To make it rise, blow into the tubing.
The same place where I tested my submersible was also the location of the Perry Institute for Marine Science on Lee Stocking Island. The labs are abandoned but we can still explore the site. We found the Reef Ranger on a runway at Perry Labs.
This is a real submarine called the Reef Ranger that we saw at Lee Stocking Island.
This is the Reef Ranger when it was working.
Perry Institute provided the underwater car for the James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me.
The Checkered Puffer lives in the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Florida. It usually appears in shallow bays, inlets and protected inshore waters with sea grass beds. They usually rest on the bottom.
A Checkered Puffer we caught.
The Checkered Puffer fish usually isn’t on reefs. Most puffer fish have red eyes. The Checkered Puffer will inflate if disturbed. The Porcupine fish lives in the same areas and usually lurk near cave openings. They often peer out crevices where they can be closely observed. They have little black spots all over their body. It can change from a light color to a dark color. The porcupine fish will inflate if disturbed.
This is a Porcupine fish we saw snorkeling.
If they inflate, they have big spines that will stick out.