Showing posts from June, 2017

The Ultimate Jigsaw Puzzle

We'll make our way up from the beach via the steps by the Porto Belissario hotel and then take a stroll up a track that will take us to the north east corner of the village. 
Now you may think that I'm puffed already, half way up the stairs but honestly, I've only stopped to admire this dragonfly. As you may already know, dragonflies and damselflies form a common group called the Odonata and you can tell them apart by the way they hold their wings at rest. Folded above the body: damselfly. Held out away from the body: dragonfly. There are 19 species of dragonfly on Crete in three  families and this is one of the Skimmers from the largest family, the Libelluidae. Nature is the ultimate jigsaw puzzle and being able to recognise a dragonfly and the family it belongs to is very much a first step; like the initial sorting of the pieces.
The next part of the puzzle is fitting a few pieces together and if we take a look at these Globe Thistles across the road here we can…

Snorkeling The Sea Caves of Ferma

As we have our costumes on I thought we'd continue our journey by swimming back across the bay to those caves over there and I'll fill you in a bit more about the island. When we were looking at fossils a couple of weeks back I mentioned that Ferma was raised from the sea bed by a huge tectonic upheaval about twenty odd million years ago. This is true as far as it goes but Ferma wasn't where it is now. Along with the rest of Crete it formed part of The Aegean landmass and was locked in with Europe and Asia and you could swim from here to the Indian Ocean without the need for the Suez Canal. Another bit of tectonic movement fifteen million years ago nipped off the top end of this large ocean (known as The Tethys Ocean) and the Mediterranean Sea was formed. It wasn't until eight million years ago that Crete began to separate from the Aegean landmass. The final land bridges to the Peloponnese broke about five million years ago and Crete became an archipelago of low island…

Steve's Nature Quiz #12

How many Spotted Sea Hares can you see in this picture?

Sea Hares are a type of Sea Slug and are molluscs like the slugs and snails in your garden. They are called Sea Hares because of their large, hare-like 'ears'. They are not ears at all in fact but act more like noses. When Sea Hares want to make more Sea Hares they form mating chains and advertise the fact by sending out pheromones which other sea hares pick up through these chemosensory organs called rhinopores. As things can be a bit confusing in a mating chain sometimes the best way to determine the number of Sea hares in a chain is to count the rhinopores and divide by two!

I think that I can see ten rhinopores in this picture which makes five Sea Hares. Maybe you can see more?

Taken from this week's #CreteNature Blog:  Triton's Trumpet and Mermaids' Wine Glasses

Triton's Trumpet and Mermaids' Wine Glasses

Here we are at Rodinesque Point, a lovely set of rock pools that never fail to  throw up some curious creatures. Before we plunge in though let's have a look at some of the algae that are growing on the rocks. The larger ones are called Peacock's Tails which you may remember we met in the Blue Lagoon; the ones used in anti-wrinkle cream. The ones that look a bit like satellite dishes on stalks are Mermaid's Wine Glasses and both are considered a delicacy by the pretty little sea slug, Elysia timida, which lives around here so keep your eyes peeled. Incidentally you won't find Rodinesque Point on any map, it's a name I've given the area because of that weird rock formation on the headland which looks as though it has been sculpted by Rodin.
This looks like a nice place to slither in. Just a note on underwater photography in shallow, rocky waters; if you're using a small camera like this Nikon Coolpix hold the lens in the palm of your hand to protect it. Note …