Jumbo Humboldt squid washing up on central California beaches (and one trapped at the Monterey Bay Aquarium tide pool)

Photo of Humboldt squid by Monikichi, via Wikipedia.  Caught off Viña del Mar, Chile.

This past Saturday, my daughter and grandson Gabriel found Humboldt squid stranded at the Moss Landing & Salinas River State Beach, and over the weekend, there were reports of hundreds of stranded and dead Humboldt squid in areas along the Central California coast.

Also known as jumbo squid, the Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) are predatory and can grow up to 5 feet long.

Think squid for calamari steaks, and not the small  “market” squid — the calamari rings that many of us eat for appetizers.

Market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) only grow to about 11 (28cm) inches long.

Named after the Humboldt Current (and the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt) these squid are normally found at depths of 660 to 2,300 ft (200 to 700 m) — and in the Sea of Cortez, in Baja, Mexico.

On Sunday, we were at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we watched a Humboldt squid swimming in the aquarium’s tide pool.

According to a Monterey Bay Aquarium staff member, the Humboldt squid was trapped in their tide pool after high tide.  Apparently, this has not happened in 28 years at the Aquarium.  I checked the opening year of the Aquarium — 1984 — which means this has never happened before…

The Monterey Bay Aquarium building sits on the edge of Monterey Bay.  Photo above of outdoor deck and the tide pool behind the Monterey Bay Aquarium building.  Photo LolaKo.com

The Great Tide Pool at Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Photo Lolako.com

It was a rare opportunity to see a Humboldt squid swimming in an enclosed area…and all from the comfort and safety of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s deck overlooking the tide pool.

We found out that squid swim backwards by pumping water through valves near their heads.  It was odd to see the squid moving about with its tentacles and head behind, instead of in front of the movement.

A baby Humboldt squid trapped after high tide in the Monterey Bay Aquarium tide pool. Leaning over the deck area, we watched — and I photographed with my phone camera — the squid swimming around the tide pool.  Coral and cream color creatures to the left of the squid are starfish that live in the tide pool.

What a lucky day to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Really….how often do you get to watch a Humboldt squid swimming without having to actually be in the water?  It is probably one of those days my grandsons will remember.

Interesting information from Wikipedia on the Humboldt squid:

El Niño factors

Although Humboldt squid are generally found in the warm Pacific waters off of the Mexican coast, recent years have shown an increase in northern migration. The large 1997-98 El Niño event triggered the first sightings of Humboldt squid in Monterey Bay..

Then, during the minor El Niño event of 2002, they returned to Monterey Bay in higher numbers and have been seen there year-round since then. Similar trends have been shown off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and even Alaska, although there are no year-round Humboldt squid populations in these locations.

This change in migration is suggested to be due to warming waters during El Niño events, but other factors, such as a decrease in upper trophic level predators that would compete with the squid for food, could be impacting the migration shift, as well.

Ocean Acidification

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that by the end of this century, ocean acidification will lower the Humboldt squid’s metabolic rate by 31% and activity levels by 45%. This will lead the squid to have to retreat to shallower waters, where they can take up oxygen at higher levels.

Here is a video from local news reports…did these baby Humboldt squid eat toxic algae?

Related Links:

Illustration by Rena Ekmanis (www.renaekmanis.com)

From UCSC Science Notes 2012: The Sea Longs for Red Devils

Article by Daniela Hernandez dives into a giant marine mystery — and why the elusive Humboldt squid has abandoned a Mexican fishery in need.  With illustrations by Rena Ekmanis.

Image of market squid from www.fishwatch.gov

California Market Squid – from NOAA, FISH WATCH U.S. Seafood Facts

…California’s market squid fishery is unique for several reasons. Fishermen usually fish for market squid at night directly (more here)

The Saguaro Cactus Menorah

photo from www.azcentral.com

I heard about this unique saguaro cactus on the radio earlier today.  It is estimated to be over 135 years old…

Excerpt from an article by Julian Osorio at www.AZCentral.com:

For the seventh consecutive year, Mel Kline of northeast Phoenix will observe Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, by lighting his 30-foot saguaro Hanukkah menorah cactus.

“This is the only living saguaro Hanukkah menorah,” Kline said. “It’s a symbol of freedom in today’s world. It’s a miracle.”

The saguaro menorah has eight arms and a middle trunk. Kline lit the first arm of the saguaro at 6 p.m. Saturday and will continue to light an arm for each night of the Jewish holiday.

Photo by Mel Kline (Mel and Ellen Bett Kline light up their saguaro Chanukah menorah).

…About 400 people visit the saguaro menorah yearly and 150 people showed up on the final night last year, including snowbirds from Canada and Europe, Kline said.

“We receive wonderful feedback from people who visit or are just driving by,” he said. “People will get out of their cars and start taking pictures.”

Kline bought the saguaro 35 years ago when it was only 10 to 12-feet-tall for about $100. Hs wife initially wanted a maple tree, Kline said.  Read the complete article, here…

Related articles:

Article Southwestern Menorah – www.jewishaz.com

LolaKo’s article Not crazy for cactus…yet  (article about my very own saguaro cactus planted from seed, and photos of cacti at Jardines de San Juan, in the California historic mission town of San Juan Bautista)

Lola Jane’s Saguaro Cactus planted from seed…now almost 18 years old!

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons…is it December?

I walked outside to see what is left of my “garden” (not much) this morning, to take photographs for the WordPress weekly photo challenge theme, Changing Seasons.

The plants looked worn, some with mold, but still, it may not be completely clear to these plants that it is already December!  Maybe a tad of the effects of global warming here?

This is the first time I’ve posted photos taken the same day as the challenge. From my phone camera this morning…

December Strawberry

A neighboring tomato branch fell over on top of some geraniums.  One more tomato will try to ripen! The lemons on track with their own schedule…

December Daisy!

Leaves are still on this tree…  Oddly, the leaves at the bottom were a different color from the red-hued leaves on the rest of the same tree.

Teeny tiny December garden snail makes its way up a ceramic pot

Jeff complains that in California, we really do not get changing seasons, and he misses — even after living here for decades now — the true four seasons experience in other regions of the United States.

I disagree…It’s rainy, it’s cold, the days are short, and we do have deciduous trees, with leaves that change color and fall off (eventually) during winter.  So YES, we indeed have changing seasons!.

The seasons are just not as pronounced as other places.  Then again, the mild weather is one of the reasons why I like it here.

There is one thing I like the least about the winter and changing season…the shorter days!  I love the height of summer, when the sun is out until 9:00 in the evening.  And now, by 5:00PM, the sun is gone.

–Updated on Sunday, December 9th:   I am adding this winter sunset photo, taken yesterday, around 4:45 PM.  And just like that, the day was over…

Wintertime sunset at Moss Landing Harbor, off California Highway 1

I just remembered, too, that I posted changing seasons, and spring time photos earlier this year (link to my green fields photo below, or here to Signs of Spring). Spring is my favorite time of the year and season.

Here are interpretations of the theme Changing Seasons from other WordPress bloggers…

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Flickr Comments
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Figments of a DuTchess
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge – Changing Seasons | Just Snaps
  4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons – Joy and Woe
  5. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons « « The Great Escape » Life from behind a lens
  6. Changing Seasons | Empire of Lights
  7. Changing Seasons « Fenland Photos
  8. Weekly Photo Challenge – Changing Seasons | Chittle Chattle
  9. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Ese’s Voice
  10. weekly photo challenge : changing seasons | bodhisattvaintraining
  11. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Charles Ray’s Ramblings
  12. Changing Seasons « Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  13. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Shail’s Nest
  14. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Photo & Tour
  15. Weekly Photo Challenge – Changing Country Season | Canoe Communications
  16. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Ohm Sweet Ohm
  17. weekly photo challenge: changing seasons « a nomad in the land of nizwa
  18. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons « MaanKind
  19. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons / Philippine Lemon Flower in Bloom « Advocacine’s Blog
  20. Seasons Change « Spirit Lights The Way
  21. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Tasagi Designs
  22. Not the Family Business!
  23. Challenge Photo Hebdo – Les saisons se changent « Paris en photographies
  24. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons « Julie Dawn Fox in Portugal
  25. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Travel. Garden. Eat.
  26. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | piran café
  27. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | The Patient Gardener’s Weblog
  28. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons « britten
  29. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Wind Against Current
  30. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | IsobelandCat’s Blog
  31. Changing Seasons « the thirdeyeworld
  32. Awake In A Dream « Eclipse
  33. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons – Sunrise over the Bay | Hippie Cahier
  34. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons « What’s (in) the picture?
  35. WordPress Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons (and December Day 7!) « A year in the Life
  36. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons « From My Horizon
  37. Orange (Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Season) « Little Yaris Photo
  38. Weekly Photo Challenge: CHANGING SEASONS « The Adventures of Iñigo Boy
  39. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Blatherskite
  40. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons With a Twist | Ron Mayhew Photography
  41. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond…
  42. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow… | Thirdeyemom
  43. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons « Sasieology
  44. weekly photo challenge: Changing Seasons « A Meditative Journey with Saldage
  45. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons « Afghan Videos and Music
  46. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing seasons « Julie Dawn Fox Photography
  47. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | Four Deer Oak
  48. Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons | my life afterglow

Typhoon “Bopha” Philippines

Here is a link to an article by BULLIT MARQUEZ on Huff Post World and the latest on the devastation caused by Typhoon “Bopha” in the Philippines.

The death toll has climbed past 500, and more than 310,000 people have lost their homes.

Sadly, there are again allegations of illegal mining activities that may have contributed to the flash floods in the hardest hit areas (New Bataan)..

Excerpts from Bullit Marquez’s article:

…The economic losses began to emerge Friday after export banana growers reported that 14,000 hectares (34,600 acres) of export banana plantations, equal to 18 percent of the total in Mindanao, were destroyed.

The Philippines is the world’s third-largest banana producer and exporter, supplying well-known brands such as Dole, Chiquita and Del Monte mainly to Japan and also to South Korea, China, New Zealand and the Middle East.

AP Photo/Bullit Marquez — An almost completely destroyed banana plantation is seen Friday Dec. 7, 2012 following Tuesday’s typhoon named “Bopha” which hit Nabunturan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines.

…Government geological hazard maps show that the farming town of New Bataan, population 45,000, was built in 1968 in an area classified as “highly susceptible to flooding and landslides.”

...Most of the casualties were killed in the valley surrounded by steep hills and crisscrossed by rivers. Flooding was so widespread here that places people thought were safe, including two emergency shelters, became among the deadliest.

Poverty is widespread in the Philippines, and the disaster highlights the risks that some take in living in dangerous areas in the hope of feeding their families.

“It’s not only an environmental issue, it’s also a poverty issue,” Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said. “The people would say, `We are better off here. At least we have food to eat or money to buy food, even if it is risky.'”

View photos, videos and read the full article here...