Sunday, January 22

The beauty of mating rituals

Four red eyes sense moon phase light from mates
I visited Lynn Rush at her blog today. The picture she posted reminded me so much of being out to sea, and the many gorgeous and unique sights you can see out there. In the Gulf, I saw the biggest pod of dolphins EVER. There had to be more than a hundred of them. I was so upset I didn't have my camera. I kept it with me from then on, hoping I'd see them again, but I never did.

I saw flying fish and poisonous sea snakes (they looked perfectly harmless, like toys floating on top of the water). I saw whales, though not as up close as I'd wanted. I saw amazing and some very strange sunsets and sunrises. One pitch black night, I caught flashes of light in my periphery. It was lightning, but unlike anything I've ever seen, like big, round blasts of yellow from the cloud to the ocean surface.

By far, one of my favorite sights is the bioluminescence, when the ocean water glows in the dark. Sometimes it's blue or green or sometimes it's somewhere in between. In the wake of our ship, a fireworks display bubbled just under the surface. Along the Pacific SoCal Coast, the green glow is caused by fireworms. Yeah, kinda gross but cool. One underway from San Diego to Port Hueneme, the entire ocean lit up the blackest night. It peaked most on the wave crests where the ocean churned and in the upset from our ship. Such beauty, and all because these little worms secrete bioluminescent goo to attract their mates. Other bioluminescence can come from jellies, phytoplankton, algae, sea snails, bacteria, or a host of other creatures.

Seen anything amazing come from a mating ritual? Anyone been out to sea and want to share an experience? Anyone find where my monster pod o' dolphins went? I really want that picture, darn it! 

In other news, please join amazing blogger friend and writer, DL Hammons of Cruising Altitude 2.0, in the Origins Blogfest. Tell us about your journey as a writer and how your dreams began. Meet some great new people you can identify with and find a bunch of fantastic blogs to follow! I know I haven't signed up yet, but I will. You can also help DL out with his query over at Matthew MacNish's blog The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment (the QQQE). Matt is another amazing blogger who helps others craft queries so they can improve their chances at publishing.

Anyone joining in this blogfest or some other you have coming up?


  1. Honored to be a co-host of the Origins blogfest!
    And that would just be amazing to see. I've been on a boat before and seen some amazing lightning in the distance, but to see the ocean itself glow with life would be amazing. You had a demanding and difficult job in the Navy, but there are things you saw that so few people on earth will ever experience.

  2. When I lived on the beach, we had bioluminescence from the plankton that lived in the seaweed. It would roll in with the waves and then crash on the shore and for about three seconds the whole beach would light up. then it would go out, then light up. It only happened once or twice a summer.

    The other cool thing that used to happen was when it got so cold and ice formed, you could see all the colors of the luminescent in the frozenness as it clung to the rocks near the dock.

    Never saw a dolphin, but we did have a seal for a few winters. I guess they come down from Maine, and he got lost and hung out in front of the house. I think three years in a row. I think it was the same seal. They all kind of look alike.

  3. I love bioluminescence, too! I have great memories as a teenager of driving to the beach with my best friend at night to see an algae "bloom" where the water glowed green.

  4. Alex, I'm happy to share! And you're such a fantastic host for these things. Thanks for the encouragement to join in ;)

    Anne and Melissa, it's awesome you got to see it along the beach. And I haven't seen seals in the wild, but how could I forget sea lions? Those lil brats used to steal the bait from my crab rings and then float there a few feet away eating it and laughing to themselves!

  5. Yes, I am doing the Origins fest, the one about the 80s crush, and of course the A to Z Challenge.

    Your descriptions are beautiful. I don't have much experience with being out on the ocean and must confess that I have a bit of a fear of bodies of water. So many mysteries, yet so exciting.

    See my guest post at Breakthrough Blogs

  6. Hi Lee! I know it sounds odd coming from a Sailor, but I'm terrified of deep water, too, always wondering what creepy thing's under there to get me. We've had a few swim calls in the middle of the ocean, and I could never bring myself to jump overboard into the water. We even had our RHIBs (little boats) complete with rescue diver and an anti-shark watch with M16. LOL, somehow that didn't make me feel safer!

  7. I've joined the Origins Blogfest and a number of others for the month of February. Blogfests are fun and a great way to meet new people!

  8. Fantastic, Stephen! I'm looking forward to your post. Got your books, btw, thanks to Lee's recommendation. I opted to start with the first one. Can't wait to read them!

  9. The beauty of mating rituals or
    The mating of beauty rituals...I guess that's where girls apply each others makeup to be more beautiful.

    I once pissed off the lifeguards at Monnlight beach when I sprinted maybe 200 yards past the swimmers and surfers into a pod of dolphins heading south. No human as ever been attacked by these loving creatures, right?

    They slicked by me on both sides as if I weren't there. One poked up and looked at me as if to say, "what."

    I made it back to shore, but because I once was a lifeguard and champion swimmer, the guards just gave me the look. I smiled back.



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