Ann’s Visit, Part I: The Beach

She came down for six days ending yesterday, staying at Charles’ studio loft above his garage. The weather was largely uncooperative, so most of the time we spent walking inside local shopping centers and eating out. We did manage to walk the beach two different days and visit the Palm Beach Zoo (the zoo warrants its own post).

First, the local beach, where it was so cold some fish washed ashore stunned, and then died.

Taken from the beach, turned to face the parking lot.

As I mentioned, the same unseasonable chill that caused iguanas to fall from trees supposedly also stunned fish, which washed ashore. I heard this as hearsay today, but it is equally plausible that the fish we saw were too small to catch and were thrown back by the local fisherman. There were quite a few out there that day, and they were succeeding.

Ann attempted to save some fish that were still visibly alive by picking them up with a flat stick and tossing them back to the sea.

I didn’t make a photographic record of how many fish she tried to return, or of what variety. There were quite a few along the shore when we returned a few days later, though- I’d estimate slightly over a dozen individuals, perhaps ranging amongst three or four species.

I did take a picture of the most interesting creature we found on our walk, and the only thing strange about its appearance is that it appears to be contentedly sitting in the sand instead of meandering about the Atlantic. The sand pipers did not have the chance to get to this fellow, I suppose:

Fugu- ah! Blowfish!

Offhand I do not know much about blowfish. When I happened across this, I wasn’t sure if it was dead or alive. The last thing I wanted was to pick it up and find out blood coursed through its veins, with spines sticking into my hand and/or wrist.

It did not help that I had recently read an article about a tarantula that shot a hair into its owner’s eye , and as far as I was concerned, it’s not out of the question that blowfish might also be able to launch little spines. The ocean has spawned freakier things, like sea urchins so venomous you die before you feel the prick of the spine, and the ever-suspicious octopus, which is now starting to show forethought and tool usage:

Humanity is further at risk when you consider the buggers can do this as well:

So as far as I’m concerned, when in doubt, I’ll assume blowfish can do anything from inflating themselves to driving a stick. After careful observation, which consisted of looking for signs of respiration and response to stimuli (stimuli = long stick), I pronounced the specimen expired.

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