By-the-wind-sailor

IMG_6629A short walk on a Tuesday afternoon on Holywell Beach west of Newquay: dark, bleak, with a bit of rain and a lot of wind. The upside was that we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. Holywell is named after a well in a cave (see here), and I was quite curious to see it. Unfortunately, although we had a look in some smaller crevices, we seemed to have missed the main cave…Ah well, a good excuse to go back some time.IMG_6635No rock pools here, but there was some good beach combing to do with this stormy sea. For the first time I found the By-the-wind-sailor Velella velella, a Siphonophoran: a colony of specialized polyps, with short tentacles underneath and a little sail on top. They are related to the Portuguese Man-of-War. These organisms live on the open ocean, but can be blown onto shores in storms (mass stranding are common on the West Coast of the USA):IMG_6668IMG_6672The pollution of our seas with plastics is a big problem and becomes very apparent when surveying the strandline. Depressing stuff:IMG_6698

Finally, some washed up crates with a Common goose barnacle Lepas anatifera attached:IMG_6705IMG_6703