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March – So far so good

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Thursday, April 4th, 2013

March has been a good month. Lots of sunshine, chocolate and progress with the boat.  The morning and evenings are getting cooler which is lovely, although some days have surprised us with their summer heat. It’s almost as if summer is refusing to let go and give way to autumn. But it’s not bad, it makes night time cozy to snuggle up together and days nice to be outside in the sun.

1. We bought a Kayak. If you haven’t got one I highly recommend getting one! Get two! Get three! I can’t believe I fought Ben for so many months about spending the money! They’re so much fun and it has given me the chance to get out and explore the harbour more, and provided another way for me to get active. Judging by my weight gain since moving aboard that’s something I need.   After an initial ‘whoopsie’ moment (blog post to come) i’m turning into a competent paddler.

2. We’ve tried out a few new recipes which will be featured on the blog soon. We’re always looking for healthy recipes. Ones that are suitable for cooking in a small galley, ones the don’t require a lot of fresh produce, ones using non-refrigerated ingredients. And we’ve found a couple of good ones but Ben was a little disappointed with the lack of meat in the trolley when we went shopping.

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

3. Added a some new books to my stash. Have I mentioned how much I love our local book exchange. And books. Real books, not ebooks.

Robinson Crusoe, Fatal Storm, Confessions of a Beachcomber, Jonathon Livingstone Seagull, Commander of the Mists and Reading I've Liked.

4. Brightened up the saloon with some wildflowers picked by the side of the road. Australia has beautiful native flowering trees which it just so happens I can reach if I stand on my toes with a pair of scissors.

Yellow and pink native flowers and my hand painted jar for a vase.

5. Embarked on a chocolate eating odyssey by biting the head off of this cute little fella and am presently working on eating this beautiful, shiny family of rabbits!

Cute, but not too cute to eat! Head first.

Shiny, edible bunnies and the delicious gold eggs they lay.

6. We helped friends move into their wonderful brand new house and what new house would be complete without a trip through IKEA. Oh my poor feet and all those glorious home wares I no longer have space for, but it was still fun getting to hang with friends.  And even though we no longer have a house I could still find some goodies to take home.

A slap chop, bag clips, scented candles, tea towels, clothes hanger and hooks for our pot rack.

7. Celebrated Easter with my family by gathering together, drinking and eating a delicious baked lunch followed by the family classic two tone rum pie dessert (not pictured, eaten too quickly)

A home cooked baked lunch - is there anything better??

8. We got a new spray dodger! The first part of the cockpit canvas replacement was the spray dodger and it got done just before Easter. It’s beautiful, the navy goes so well with the red hull!

Our new navy spray dodger. Ain't she pretty!

At the end of these little wrap ups I try and balance things out by noting some less than positive things that have happened during the month. But March has been a pretty good month so I can only think of two.

1) We found some more rust on the hull. Ben thinks that rust is becoming more of an issue because of electrolysis in the marina.

2) Due to financial constraints we couldn’t order the mesh sides for the cockpit that I so badly wanted.

If (1) is considered a complete cluster-whoopsie of a month and (10) is considered a month full of happiness, sunshine and success then I’d rate March 7/10. New spray dodger WHOOO!

How was your March?

 

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Striped Eel Catfish

Posted in: Marina Life on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
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Amazing Striped Eel Catfish schooling in pursuit of breakfast

Today I can add another wildlife encounter to the list of wondrous sights I’ve seen while living at the marina. Ben and I first spotted these interesting looking fish hanging out near the docks at the marina entrance this morning. I was pretty pleased with that sighting brief as it was, and thought nothing more of it because not long after that I had to say goodbye to Ben which is my least favourite part of the day.  But later while sitting in the boat I heard unusual splashes in the water so popped my head out the hatch to see the school again.  I grabbed my camera, which thankfully had it’s battery and CF card in it and ready to go, and found the school in the berth next to us.  This time I got to watch them for about 10 minutes as they swam from berth the berth, under the dock and around boats.  Obviously intrigued by my mad dash from the boat the ships cat came down for a look too.

I was fortunate to get these shots, as having photos on hand makes the task of identification much easier.  Although today I didn’t have much trouble, I just Google image searched ‘Stripy schooling fish’ and bingo there they were!  Striped Eel Catfish.  I like it when finding a fish or bird is so easy! Here’s what I’ve discovered.

Striped eel catfish are native to the Indian Ocean, the western Pacific ocean and Papua New Guniea.  Predominately a tropical fish it has been recorded down both the eastern and western coastlines of Australia.   It is the only known species of coral reef dwelling catfish which makes it unique among other catfish species.

Adult Striped Eel Catfish can grow up to 35cm in length and will often lose the distinctive stripes that the juveniles are known for. They have a roughly cylindrical body shape which tapers down into a distinctively eel shaped tail.

Juveniles live in schools of hundreds of fish but as they mature those schools will dwindle in size to considerably smaller groups of around 20 fish.  They mainly feed on benthic invertebrates (organisms that live on the bottom of a water body or in the sediment and have no backbone) algae and sometimes small fishes.

The school I observed today were feeding on small fishes. You could see the smaller fish jumping out of the water in panic ahead of the school.  The catfish would herd their prey between boats and the dock cutting off escape, the water erupting into a feeding frenzy.  It was fascinating to watch.

If you catch one of these guys be careful, apparently they are highly venomous with the forward serrate spines of the dorsal and pectoral fins inflicting painful wounds which may even be fatal. Striped Eel Catfish are definitely in the look but don’t touch category of marine life.

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Information sources:

Life under the blue water – http://lifeuwater.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-striped-eel-catfish-interesting.html

Australian Museum – http://australianmuseum.net.au/Striped-Catfish-Plotosus-lineatus

Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plotosus

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