Coral grows in warm seas and are alive. There are lots of different kinds of coral. Here are the types of coral that I observe in the Bahamas: brain coral, mustard hill coral, finger coral, elk horn coral, fan coral, and sea ship coral. Those are the main types I see and here are pictures I took.
Sea Whip Coral
Mustard Hill Coral
Elk Horn Coral
All corals have polyps. Polyps are the living parts of coral. They are tentacle like creatures. They are like builders. They build the coral. Brain coral polyps come out only at night. Brain coral likes facing the surface of the water. Mustard hill coral polyps come out in the daytime. On all kinds of coral polyps, they either come out at night or day. Finger coral have day polyps and comes in many different colors like green, purple, pink and grey. Elk horn coral is the biggest coral. It grows six inches every year. Fan coral lives on drop-offs and finally sea whip. Sea whips come in sea like forests. Here is a picture of polyps.
There are three major types of sharks. The carpet sharks, pointed nose sharks, and hammerhead sharks.
Pointed nose shark
There are two types of carpets: nurse sharks and whale sharks. Nurse sharks are 5-9 feet long but whale sharks are 20-45 feet.
They both have the same types of heads. Nurse sharks feed on the small fish and coruscations. Whale sharks feed on plankton by opening their huge mouths and swimming. That filters it all in their mouths. Both of these sharks are very gentle.
Pointed Nose Sharks are mostly dangerous and are to be left alone. These sharks feed on all kinds of fish, big and small. Some even feed on turtles. These sharks can be identified by markings like lemon shark is yellow. Tiger sharks are striped and black tip sharks have black tips on the end of their fins. Finally the hammer-head sharks. There are three different kinds of hammer heads, the Great Hammerhead, the Scalloped Hammerhead and the Bonehead.
Now for all sharks. All sharks come to the smell of blood. This is how they smell. They smell under their mouth. There are black dots. Those black dots since the blood and also another cool thing is that some sharks have belly buttons.
There are lots of creatures you can find in tide pools along the shoreline and beside the rocks in the water. Here are some of the things you can find along the shore. Of course you can find the starfish. There are three different kinds of tide pool starfish. One is a grey and white looking starfish. When you put them in the water, you can watch them move very fast. You can have starfish races. There are also red pokey starfish.
They are small and they do not move very much but they are prettier. The last kind of starfish is a white one with 8-inch skinny arms and they also move very fast.
There are also sea cucumbers. They look like a brownish black long thick tube. And my favorite one is nudibranchs. They look like a squishy blob with yellow and black rings. You can find them along the rocky shores. They like to go along rocks. They are basically a snail out of their shell but a little different. There is a picture below.
For some reason the nudibranchs release purple ink. I’m not sure why but it is a very pretty color. Do you know why they release this ink? We do not have a book on board that tells us about them. If you find out why, please reply to my post and let us all know.
The next picture is of my brother holding some nudibranchs and behind my brother there is a tide pool full of starfish. The very first tide pool is of the sea cucumbers.
In every tide pool there also is baby fish. They are fun to watch but are hard to catch. I’ve found baby squirrel fish and baby angelfish. We made a lake for them to swim around in. Here is a picture of the squirrelfish.
This is my first fish I speared. It is a Blue Stripped Grunt. There are lots of them around so they are easy to catch because they are so tame. In the background there is a few other people that we went spear fishing with too. Usually we go to our friends boat and have a fish dinner with the catch of the day. The next picture is of all the fish all of us caught in the dinghy. I also caught the silver fish, they are another kind of grunt.
The spear I am using is not the kind where you pull the trigger. You pull back a rubber band really tight and then you let it go to spear the fish. It is called a Hawaiian Sling. I think spear fishing is easier than regular fishing because the fish are so tame. As soon as you catch a fish, you put it above the water because they will wiggle right off your spear and then you will have to get them again. This also keeps the blood out of the water otherwise you may attract sharks. If you do, you just give your fish to the shark and get in the dinghy and go.
My first fish.
Our catch for the day.
There is some locals around the islands that will go out spear fishing also. They come back with mostly conch, lobster and 1 really big fish. It is amazing how many they come back with. The picture of me holding a lobster, the locals speared that one but I am going to spear my first lobster soon I think. My dad also has speared some lobsters, not quite as big as this one but they are pretty big.
This is how you find lobsters. You look for little black twigs in rocks under water and those are lobster antennas. Also if you see a hole in the coral, go down and look in the holes and there will be lobster in there too sometimes. They do not run away. They will sit there until you actually touch them.
Every evening at sundown we blow the conch and all the other boaters blow them at the same time. It sounds really cool with the echoing in the bay. A conch is the shell of a snail but it has 2 eyes and a little foot it walks around on. They are very good eating. To eat them, you cut a hole in the side of them at the 5th ring to get them out. If you want a conch horn, you have to seal up that hole you made with some putty then at the 4th ring, you cut the top off the conch and it will look all spirally inside. With a chisel, you hit the spiral out of it so it just looks like a funnel.
Conch shells are used for many different traditions. One is at sunset, some are at weddings and a bathing ceremony. These traditions take place in The Bahamas, The Caribbean and Hawaii. Here is a picture of our conch. This is the first one we caught.
Blowing of the conch shell is a tradition at sunset. This is the conch Mark caught a few days ago. The shells all make a different sound. It is somewhat like an elk bugling.
Cole & Logan blowing conch shells.
There are some conch that are good to eat and some that are bad to eat. The good type is a Queen Conch. The type you don’t want to eat is a King Conch. The King Conch look a lot more beautiful but they do not taste so good. You can’t eat any conch that are in 20 feet of water (deep water). They are called black conch. They are the regular Queen Conch but if you eat them from deep water, it will make you sick.
We have done some snorkeling along coral reefs. When we snorkel, the thing we always see is a Sergeant Major fish. The first picture is of a Sargeant Major. We also see lots of stingrays, Spotted Eagle Rays, angelfish, tons of Parrot Fish and sea turtles. One of the things I haven’t seen but I want to see is a green moral eel and a seahorse. A little while ago snorkeling, we found a pirate coin buried in sand. It is really cool, it has lots of engravings on it.
Some of the coral reefs are dying from bleaching. Bleaching is when the water gets warmer every year and coral starts to turn solid white.
We have snorkeled plane wrecks and ship wrecks as well. A picture of the shark is by a shipwreck.
Here are some of the pictures of the reef fish.
Here is a video of a Spotted Eagle Ray. You can’t see its spots in the video but it is black with white spots all over. You have to be careful with the rays because they have a barb at the end of their tail that could get you. They are cool just to watch.
We arrived in Nassau a couple of days ago. People have said Atlantis is a must see so we docked at one of the slips there and spent a day at the water park. Atlantis had a cool aquarium and we saw manta rays, eels, lobster, jellyfish and all kinds of other tropical fish with a range of colors from blue, green, purple, orange and bright yellow. It was very cool to see them all.
At the water park there was a lot of rides but there was two rides that were basically a straight down body slide. At first I didn’t want to do it, but then I thought, if I’m here at Atlantis, I should just do every ride so here is a video of me going down The Leap of Faith and it was almost straight down into a glass underwater tube with sharks swimming by you. It was so fast, you couldn’t even see them. Now I know what it feels like to be a human bullet.
Another cool thing about Atlantis is its architecture. They put their water slides on giant towers that look like they came out of the Lost City of Atlantis and they make water slides on a temple. Here are a few pictures of Atlantis.
Next we are going to Allen’s Cay in the Exuma Islands. There are big iguanas there all over. If I get a chance, I will do a post about that.