Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Monday, May 7, 2012

Super moon and super moon snail

Dave and I joined a little crowd Saturday night waiting at the old ferry dock in Gig Harbor to see the Super Moon rise. All eyes were glued to the horizon across Commencement Bay, but as the minutes ticked by those of little faith decided it was too cloudy and left.

A boat's wake distorts the reflection.

The rest of us waited more than half an hour and then were rewarded with the most magnificent glowing orange ball (my photos don't do it justice) rising majestically over Tacoma, slipping in and out of the clouds until it sat above them casting a brilliant reflection in the cold water.

I swung my camera around to the left to capture other reflections in Gig Harbor bay. Below is our little lighthouse, right at the mouth of the harbor.

The super moon also caused an extra low tide over the weekend, creating perfect conditions to look for cool intertidal critters. I was out at Kopachuck Beach doing my volunteer training with Harbor WildWatch and one of the volunteers found this huge moon snail:

Here, one of our naturalists is pointing to the growth rings in the snail's shell. That gooey pink stuff around it is the snail oozing out of its shell. He said this is one of the biggest ones he's ever seen -- a Super Moon Snail!

See those perfect holes in these shells? They were drilled by a moon snail, which uses its rasplike tongue and digestive acid to get into bivalves and eat them. (And you thought a human drilled those holes to use the shells for necklaces.)

Here's the same moon snail in our touch tank, along with another moon snail shell (lower left) and the "egg collar" (gray thing in upper left) from a moon snail that's made of thousands of eggs, sand and ooey gooey stuff to hold it all together until the water breaks it up and spreads the eggs. And now you know the basics of moon snails!

Have a colorful day


Julia said...

Very cool... and interesting how the supermoon was orange/red in some places and white in others (like down the street where I saw it). Did Dad happen to get any shots with his camera? I would imagine his fancy lenses could have taken some newspaper-worthy photos.

Judy Ferguson said...

In my part of the world, we had too many clouds to see much. And...we have no beach to find other interests. So we sat in the hot tub and soaked.

Ladybug said...

I rarely get excited about night-time astrological events anymore, becuase I've been diappointed so many times by the cloudy skies. However, we DID get a beautiful clear view of the Super Moon this year - several nights in a row, no less! Our view was between, then just over, the trees, but your view over the water must have been spectalular!!