Itchy Feet

This cold has given me itchy feet this week. Watching people leave for home has given me itchy feet too. Itchy feet has given me itchy feet – if that makes sense. With the sudden storms, people leaving and planning to leave, plus my first post-pandemic cold, it’s been a bit of a sad, scary and strange week. All at once. Also typical.

Meanwhile, the corals on Bonaire’s reefs have been spawning again. This time, the corals’ sex party was planned for after October’s full moon.

Along with the coral spawning has been the inshore arrival of the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish. Only recently formally identified as its own species, these jellies are from the class, Cubozoa. This is the same as the deadly box jellies in the Indo-Pacific. The Bonaire box jelly isn’t quite as deadly as some box jellies reputedly are, but you still wouldn’t want to mess with one.

They’ve been coming close to shore in the early mornings and late afternoons. Apparently, unlike true jellyfish, box jellies actively hunt. They have a powerful skirt around their bells which allows them to jet propel at high speed, plus actual eyes. Yes, actual eyes – in a jellyfish. Crazy or what.

Where was I going with this? I forgot. I got caught up with the jellyfish. Lenses, retinas, corneas: 24 eyes in total! Always handy to have nature put things into perspective.

It’s been difficult to wrap our heads around things at home this week too. Reading about proposed lockdowns again at home, I find myself getting itchy feet. I don’t know why. People often say to us that we’re better staying out of the U.K. at the moment. That being away is a good thing. But hearing about widespread difficulties and people’s emotions running high does the opposite – for me. It makes me more homesick.

I guess it’s also the fact that we can move. Sailing is about moving. Moving is supposed to be easy if you live on a boat. We decided the most prudent thing for this season was to find the safest place you can, and stay in it. So moving but not moving is a strange kind of reality right now.

We did plan this especially for Bonaire. With all the diving and good infrastructure, we can stay here for a number of months. We can help to re-build the nursery corals after last week’s storm. We can say good-bye to friends, and meet new friends. I just hate saying good-bye. More typical.

Back to the jellyfish. I read that its name was chosen from an open submission. In the end, Lisa Peck, a high school marine biology teacher, provided the chosen name. Tamoya ohboya. Has a certain ring to it, no? Especially since Lisa imagined that’s what any diver would say who saw one. Oh boya.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/aug/21/new-to-nature-tamoya-ohboya

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