Winter 2007-08

I am going to start off this blog with some photos from the back yard. Here is a Blue Morpho butterfly. It is one of the most beautiful butterflies, iridescent blue, just dazzling to see. You have to photograph them "on the fly" because the minute they stop and light on something their wings go up and they are a dull brown underneath. So this is not the best shot in the world, but about as good as I will probably get.



This pretty moth stayed around my yard for about a day and then disappeared. I have no idea what kind it is and even if its wings are normal.

Here is a baby green iguana. The wall in the back yard has many holes in it -- perfect hiding places for iguanas, tarantulas, and other interesting critters. The green color of this young one fades as they get older until they are pretty much grey. That is except the adult males in breeding season and then they are bright orange.

You never know what kind of a bug will show up in the yard (or house for that matter). I have no idea what this is, but I thought it was pretty. I have had bright green bugs that look like a cross between a grasshopper and locust and from my research it looks like they are a type of grasshopper native to Africa. Wouldn't suprise me if it blew all the way here.

This is a mushroom. It is a carniverous mushroom that I have seen in the back yard just a couple of times after a big rain. What you can't experience is the smell -- just like poop. Flys buzz around it all the time, land and go into the little holes never to return. So, I welcome these. Unfortunately, the rains bring mosquitos out and that is a serious problem here. The Cozumel mosquitos carry Dengue Fever, nothing to be triffled with as it can kill you.

Now we move to the front of the house. This is the beginning of sidewalk construction that lasted from last September until now. It is almost finished now, but not quite. There was a problem with the way they put in the sidewalk in front of Grant's house next door. They sloped it so all the water running down the hill ran into his garage. So he protested and they tore up what they had done and redid it properly, but left things not quite finished. There is rebar sticking up where they aren't done, so he can't actually use his garage, but hey, it is the Mexican way!

This is the ditch they dug to bury the undergrand utilities. That will be a real bonus and worth the wait. This should mean we won't lose power for long or at all in a hurricane. What a bonus that will be.

The big concern now is that there is a change in administration at the Govenor (mayor level) and there is absolutely no guarantee that this job will be finished -- we might have to do it ourselves.

Anyway, after 6 months of pounding, hammering, polvo (dust and sand), big jackhammer piledrivers, small jackhammers, etc., it is finally nearly finished.

Pouring the red cement.

Here is the nearly finished product. No they didn't paint the house yellow, my landlord did. But it sure looks nice and it is a real pleasure to gather with neighbors and sit on the benches and shoot the breeze. Did you notice the "cat" mailbox?

Okay, into the water, Above is a baby Damsel fish. It is actually the size of my finger. They are called jewelfish because the dots are quite bright and luminous. They gradually lose their turquise polka dots and become solid colored with a yellow tail.

Here is a young adult damsel fish. The reason for the not so perfect photo is because this is the ladder where I get out of the water at my friend, Lynda's, condo. He is guarding the steps and nips your feet when you come in and out -- it hurts and has drawn blood on one of my friends. These boys are very territorial and if they have babies around they get very aggressive.

Speaking of Lynda's condo. Here is the view from her balcony. The ladder where the damsel fish hangs is in the lower right corner. It is hard to truly capture the color of the water here. It is really clear. The dark spots you see in the water are coral in about 20 feet of water.

On the same day I snorkeled by Lynda's the Mexican Navy was doing some neat stuff. Here are some of them dangling from a helicopter. Probably practicing rescue stuff. The helicopter flew back and forth for about an hour while we swam.

The photo below may be disturbing and you might want to skip over it. It is a photo taken by someone else of a spotted eagle ray in a boat. This magnificent creature leaped in the boat of some friends of mine that have a dive business. It died from the injuries it sustained. The amazing and lucky thing is that all the divers were below and nobody was hurt. You may have read about a recent incident where an eagle ray landed in a boat with someone and killed them. They are normally graceful gentle creatures (unless you are a conch). But they do breach out of the water -- I am told to rid themselves of parasites and don't plan for boats to be coming by. When the divers returned to the boat they were shocked by the new passenger. They got into the boat very gingerly as to not get near the barbs. The marine authorities were called and the situation explained. No one was at fault and the fish was then used for food.


Here is another damsel fish, a bicolor damsel, it is above the sargent major.

This is a banded butterfly near a purple sea fan. It was by itself, most butterfly fish swim with another one. If you see one and look around you will find the other. But this one seems to be a loner. I have seen it a number of times in the same area and it was always by itself. It is another "mystery of the deep".

A black hamlet. Here is a link to an explanation of the reproductive behavior of this species. Basically, they are called a simultaneous hermaphrodite. Check that out in your Funk & Wagnels.


The spotted goatfish. They have "barbels" by their mouth that they use to stir up the bottom looking for food. The barbels look like antenna. This is another species of fish that can change color to match their background. We get a lot of that in the Caribbean.

Above is a honeycomb cowfish in its normal coloration

And here it changed coloration, I believe because it was annoyed that I was following it and taking its photo.

To the left is an ocean triggerfish. This one was not shy and came very close to me. It is a pretty large fish. The color is a little off as they usually appear pretty grey. But it was late afternoon light.

And its much flashier relative, the queen triggerfish. I see them nearly every time I snorkel and always marvel at their color. You can see the "trigger" well in this photo. The fins (barbs) sticking up a bit on the top will come straight up when it is threatened. It would make it hard for a preditor to eat it.

Here is a squid in its normal color. I have seen families of them recently. One day I was swimming along and I looked to my right and there were 8 of them all lined up looking at me. It was a bit unnerving.

This is an older photo taken right after hurricane wilma. These are large trumpet fish. We used to see them quite often in a vertical position behind seafans and other hiding places. This was the last time I saw one. They all left the area because of lack of shelter, I assume. The sea fans are starting to come back so, hopefully, they will come back.

This is a squirrelfish. I don't see these very often, they hide in the coral a lot and are quite camera shy. They are a night feeder and eat crabs snd other crustrations.

This is me (Carol) flying the spinnaker during a recent sail trip. It was a beautiful day and the wind was just right. It was lots of fun.

At the end of the sail trip we were treated to a pod of porposes that put on a show at the front of the trimaran. This is the only halfway decent shot I got, it was crowded at the front of the boat. They came right up to the boat and swam very close and then they would move away and jump. Wild dolphins are so stunning. It sickens me that they keep some of them captive on the island. They train them to entertain the tourists. This is how they should be living, free. New Mexican laws forbid bringing any new ones into captivity, but I have learned that the laws don't always apply to everyone.

Well that is all for now. This blog shows the highlights of this past winter. Spring is here, it is April 1. The water is starting to warm up, finally. I will try to get another one out before 6 months. If you have any comments or questions, Carol       HOME