I’m back in my summer world saying hi to the fish! All winter long I’ve been waiting for when the water was warm enough to go in. The way the water wraps around you as soon as you get in makes you forget about everything. Salt water on a hot humid day is sometimes the only thing that cools you down. Maybe that’s because Earth is 70% water and humans are too. We’re just drawn to water and if you can peek into life in the water a completely different world opens up.
A world where that has no idea about cryptocurrency, she said, he said this, shopping, roads, cars, tv shows. A world that just is, unchanged for millions of years taking away evolution. But it is changing.
I couldn’t find the rocks on the sea bed. I thought maybe that’s because the beach is wider than it used to be. Maybe I have to go further out. But I was looking in the right place. Looking above from the walk way I couldn’t see the darker shadows in the water where the rocks were. Looking back I hadn’t seen them for a few months but didn’t think anything about it. Every thing was covered in sand. So much sand the depth is shallower. I think the storms in January and March wiped everything out. When I cycled past I often wondered how the fish were doing in the storm waves. That world gone, the landscaped changed. When I realised I got upset. All winter long I’d been looking forward to snorkelling again. I don’t care it’s city beach. I just wanted to be in the water pooping my pants if a fish bigger than a mullet swam below. I felt like the one thing that had been keeping me going all winter gone in an instant.
I think there’s a British Seagull on holiday in Barcelona at the moment.
Que? For about 2 weeks occasionally I’ve heard a different sounding seagull. I’m used to hearing and seeing yellow legged gulls who sound like they’re laughing at you. This gull sounds like the UK, or rather beaches in the UK. That’s the first thing I noticed when I visited my parents last year back in the UK, the beach didn’t sound right. The gulls had a different voice. Maybe I’m imagining it, made they got swept here with the storms in March, maybe they’re just exploring for a while.
I’ve also seen more of a type of plover, I think ringed plover (I swear not I’m a bird geek! I just like to know the names of birds like I do animals!) at a spot where I run too. There was 1 and now there’s 4. I’ve never seen them before here so was curious. Same way that I’m not a bird geek, I got a bird ID book as I kept seeing different coloured gulls from the balcony last year. Turns, out they’re teenage gulls 🤦♀️.
Anyway, back in July last year baby fish clouds were still around and I was getting more comfortable being in the water. The visibility wasn’t so good most day. I was getting a little frustrated that I could never focus the camera on what I was shooting and that most of the shoots were grainy. Nat, you’re in the water and the water’s moving! Photography works differently in the water to on land. I still didn’t want to use flash to disturb the fish or to attract larger scarier fish!
On good vis days I had fun watching tiny fish who only kept the the bottom not bothered by the drama higher up in the water column.
I found the missing photos! I thought late last June I didn’t get in the water much as it might have been too cold. It wasn’t too cold! I found the missing photos on another library hard drive.
I still hadn’t figured out the settings, hence the photos are grainy, plus there was a lot of sediment. I prefer not to use flash as I don’t want to harm their eyes or attract bigger fish I might pee my pants if they arrive. Just saying.
At least every week there was a new baby fish cloud to swim through. It was amazing how much they grew in a week!
The light when the sun hits ripples is like smoke on a ceiling or amazing abstract patterns
Every sea bream has its water column level. Salemas I rarely saw near the surface. Saddled sea breams and these guys white sea breams (I think. They could be striped sea breams) stayed mostly in the middle and upper parts but did go to the sea floor for snacks occasionally. It’s not deep where I snorkel. Perhaps 3-5 meters. Honestly I have no idea but it’s not deep. I do know I can’t dive far down. I did every now and then to collect drink cans or an abandoned shell and though I was going to run out of air! Even a little way down I noticed the pressure, yet I went for more daily or as often as I could.
Spring’s been whispering hi this week, getting me excited for summer, when I can return to my under the sea snorkelling world.
For some reason I can’t remember I hardly went in the water late June last year. I think it was too cold. June’s like that here. So many people think Spain’s warm and sunny all year round. It’s not or at least when I live in Catalunya. I can still be in leggings in June in the evenings. Summer in this part of Spain’s short. July, August and most of September so I try to be outside as much as possible making the most of it. The few times I did go in, I saw the biggest octopus yet! Only one of 2 I saw last year. Its eyes were freaky almost like painted on. I swan through clouds of baby fish who got used to staying near the humans swimming so bigger fish didn’t eat them.
I was still trying out the best settings for my camera, Olympus TG-6. If I gave myself more time at the beach and in the water I’m sure I’d have figured them out. To be honest I ended up finding a setting that worked and stuck with it the whole summer. While it’s still shallow the water isn’t the brightest, it’s often choppy so there’s lots of sediment. Some days I couldn’t see in front of me. The next day it was clear and calm.
Salemas! The Mediterranean’s main herbivore fish. Apparently if you eat them they make you hallucinate!
All summer I didn’t get a great photo of these guys. They liked to avoid humans and are fast swimmers compared to me. I always saw them in the shadows where it’s deeper.
All this summer as much as I can I’ve been visiting a magical world. A world I discovered last year on holiday in Mallorca. A world whose outer bubble I see everyday but never give much thought what’s under the surface. A world I’ve only glimpsed at in photos. A world all winter I couldn’t wait to visit as summer came. A world that holds so much allure and mystery humans still haven’t explored perhaps even 1/3 of it.
It started with P wanting me to snorkel. Mallorca is perhaps one of the best places in the Western Mediterranean to snorkel. In the summer the waters are warm, clear and rocky. Rocks perfect for fish, warm and clear perfect for humans to visit without having to suit up. Back in Barcelona I got little sad. I didn’t think I could snorkel or visit under the sea until the following summer. It’s a city beach, there’s not going to be anything hanging around in the water. That changed the day I saw a flash of silver treading water. The next day I took my googles and snorkel. A few days later so P and others would believe me there’s fish along the city beaches his old Go Pro. The Go Pro turned into an Olympus Tough 6 with this year since about late May as often as I can I’ve been in the water visiting the city fish. It might not be the best, clearest waters however it’s world I feel’s secret as few snorkel where I go. That’s changed a bit this year as Decathlon opened up in a local mall with easy access to snorkels more have been visiting, but I think most on the beach think I’m crazy.
I always believe salt water cures almost anything. Having a bad day, it’s too hot, having a good day, that cooling hug it gives as you take dip makes you forget about everything. When I watch the fish just be, everything slips away. The sea and it’s inhabitants don’t know about how your day’s been, how’s your week’s been, they don’t care if you’re happy or sad. They’re just going about eating, trying not to be prey, hunting, just being. In a crazy way I’ve made friends with a few. Okay maybe not friends, but they always say hi if they’re around. Saddled sea breams are known to be friendly but are probably just checking me out. From visiting almost daily for about 3 months I feel kinda protective of them and the rest of the fish I’ve seen travelling this summer. They don’t know about what’s happening outside of where they live. They might be noticing climate change, they might not be. They haven’t got a voice to fight back to say help like land animals can (maybe Orcas are as they’re the oceans bullies. One rogue pod has been attacking boats in the Med and Atlantic. El Pais in English who first reported it. BBC article). I don’t have to tell you their habitats are changing. For most they’ll only do something when there’s nearly no fish to eat.
The below photos are from late May to mid June. I’d had the camera all winter only to test it out 2 minutes before going in. It’s point and shoot right? Nope. There’s a little more to it Nat hence the bad photography and for now they’re jpegs. The sea bottom back in May and June had a lot of seaweed/plants growing. Now in August there’s more peacock’s tail. Yep I got a Mediterranean marine ID book 🤓 And yes I spook myself out when the visibility’s low. When I didn’t know what was just beneath the shoreline when I swam or treaded water I didn’t freak out much. Now I know what’s under there, for every big fish, there’s an even bigger fish…