Sunday, July 27, 2014

As Far as the Eye Could See

Perhaps you've had the amazing experience of coming upon these beautiful "By-the-Wind-Sailors"  quite unexpectedly at the beach, but I never had until this weekend while at the Washington coast.  Their scientific name is Valella valella and they spend their days skimming the surface of the ocean by means of a small blue float (deflated in the photos here) made of concentric circles of gas-filled tubes.  Their short tentacles hang just below the surface, feeding on plankton, and with no active means of propelling themselves, they sail along at the whim of the winds.  Occasionally, (or more aptly "seasonally") they are beached by the hundreds of thousands.  This phenomenon is occurring right now, up and down the west coast of North America, as evidenced by photos from two people I follow on Instagram; one who lives in Northern California, and the other in Southern California.   I must say, this sight was spectacular, and even more so because the day was clear and the water was a gorgeous blue.

Hope you've had a wonderful weekend!
(I'm back in the studio, mustering up the courage to slap some paint on a blank canvas.)

Oh -- and if you're interested, come join me on Instagram.  
I think it's a great platform and it's lots of fun


Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

So gorgeous , I am going to the beach today and see if they are here!xx

betsy best-spadaro said...

Amazing! That is something I'd love to see.

Gloria Freshley Art and Design said...

I'd be curious to know, Julie. The photos I saw from California on Instagram didn't have near the quantities. However, I read that the Vallelas typically land on the northern beaches first and then land progressively on the southern beaches over several weeks' time. So maybe there will be more to come in CA??

Gloria Freshley Art and Design said...

Hi Betsy,

When we first saw them from the beach approach, it looked as though the beach was strewn with a Chihuly glass installation piece. It was really remarkable!

Carole Reid said...

On Vancouver Island we have similar sights. Because beaches in Nanaimo are rockier we find them in strewn in rock crevices at low tide. I'll have to take a walk to the beach today to see if we are experiencing the same numbers as the past few years.

Barbara Casillas said...

Hi. What beautiful little creatures. I've never seen Vallelas before. It was so nice to find the picture and you blog. Love your prints. I am a mixed media artist and printmaker as well. I recently started a blog about my creative journey. I'd love for you to check it out. I'll continue to look in on what you've created.