Sponge crabs at Partridge Point

Meet and greet

It’s been a while since I’ve anthropomorphised sea creatures in print… So here’s a collection of encounters to entertain you (and if you haven’t dived in the Cape, to show you who lives here)!

Urchin and gas flame nudibranch at Partridge Point
Urchin and gas flame nudibranch at Partridge Point

I realise that the urchin and the nudibranch (and indeed the two nudibranchs in the picture below) probably have nothing to say to one another. But something about nudibranchs – their apparent lack of a face, maybe? – makes it very easy to ascribe thoughts and emotions to them. They also are rarely seen moving – to me, even with their riotously bright colouring, they are a blank slate upon which I may imagine whatever feelings I wish.

The urchin, therefore, has offended the nudibranch. The black nudibranch is giving the silvertip some avuncular advice, since the silvertip is still wet behind the ears, so to speak.

Silvertip and black nudibranch at Partridge Point
Silvertip and black nudibranch at Partridge Point

Sponge crabs grip onto sea fans with their little claws, and are often so covered by their protective layer of sponge (much like vetkoek) that you have to look really carefully to see their claws, let alone any other physical features. These two, however, seem to be getting cosy.

Sponge crabs at Partridge Point
Sponge crabs at Partridge Point

Granted, sea stars are not shy to interact (or compete) when a tasty snack is at stake. In fact, we often see great piles of them – particularly in the presence (or vicinity of) mussels. They seem to have no sense of personal space whatsoever. This, to me, makes the following image very charming. There’s an element of shyness and reserve (what, you don’t see it?) in the awkward approach of these two spiny sea stars that is so often lacking in starfish interactions.

Sea stars on a collision course at Long Beach
Sea stars on a collision course at Long Beach

With that bit of nonsense over, I encourage you to go out and meet and greet someone today, even a stranger. Just not a creepy stranger, or that person at work whom you suspect is secretly stalking you and ascribes far too much significance to meaningless interactions.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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