shark tapuss alopagus

(Writing the Waves is my stream of consciousness journal while living aboard my new home, a vintage, 57-foot wooden–rubbed with love–sailboat, situated in the salty B.C. air along the coast of Vancouver Island).

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Tuesday, 11/12 (Day 11)

I accept that I’m the foreigner here. They tell me I sound southern; like I’m from Texas or something. I do a decent John Wayne impression but here, I don’t even have to try’n get it “right.”

Much of the mundane of my day appears exciting still because it’s new. I get that. I’m new, and I’m new to living on a boat, but I suddenly felt less conspicuous the second this sea slug appeared just off my stern. Nudibranch they tell me … no not to be mistaken for aerial shots of the nude beach over on Hornby Island.

Roughly a foot in size, it floated to the top of the water about three feet from my boat, like a reluctantly horrific toilet flush coming to haunt me.

One too many alien movies to my credit I guess, but I felt the urge to cover my mouth tightly with one hand as I reached for my camera. The shots are like that of clouds to me … I see a new face, a new gesture in each incrimental movement of its swim– a ballet in one, the face of Elvis, or a sex act still illegal in 13 states in another. I was horrifically mesmerized, like catching your weird Aunt naked in the hall. I wanted to toss my under ware on the thing, give it a hot meal and a bus ticket back to Kansas.

I’ll be checking with local Marine life experts today for confirmation on its species, but a friend in the know tells me via some diving buddies that I’m on the right track with the nudibranch guess. And based on its size, the designation “giant” is appropriate as the biggest ones only grow to about a foot long (wide, high, around?).

Seems they typically come to the surface when disturbed. The boat I’m tethered next to has been leaking fuel the past few days–you can see evidence of it in some of the photos.

Oh, and they’re usually hermaphrodites. So if you feel funny in your pants while observing the show, then it’s probably just a natural response. There’s enough diverse genitalia in there that you’re bound to find something attactive.

NOTE: (one day later) Jury’s in and yes, it’s in the nudi family,specifically known as a Dendronotus.