Flatworms and Ice Spikes – Yikes!

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I can remember seeing ice spikes before, but I never had an opportunity to capture a photograph of one. A few days ago I opened the freezer door to get some ice and I got a surprise also. One of the cubes was topped by a perfect little ice spike. Here it is:

I’ve read that the purity of the water is a key factor in the formation of ice spikes. My water here at home is all rainwater which is stored in a big cement tank under my front porch. I suppose it is relatively pure, as there would be no dissolved minerals as are found in ground water. The spikes form when the water is freezing. If conditions are just right, they grow in the final stage of cube formation. Since water is one of those rare and peculiar substances which actually expand when freezing instead of contracting, the little bit of water that is finally freezing keeps expanding and the only place it has to go is up.

I’ll show you a few shots from our dive up on the wall at Blue Blood last Sunday. It was Flatworm Day, but I’ll get to them later. While we’re on the subject of strange looking things, here is a Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinosa):

These look like balloons, but they feel like . . . nothing! They are so incredibly delicate that I don’t see how they survive. If you fiddle with the polyps they contract and leave a razor-like skeleton exposed.

Here is one of the many flatworms which we saw. I have never seen so many individuals and so many different species in one place. It’s a little hopeless for me to look up the species name, so I won’t bother:

I’ll be showing images of the other species which we found over the next few days.

This coral shot has a wealth of detail in it. It’s worth a click to see the delicate structure:

I’ve uploaded it at a larger than usual resolution so that it can make a good desktop background.

This is one of the largest colonies of this reddish coral that I have seen:

Finally, I’ll throw in a Flabelina  genus nudibranch. This is one of the better shots that I have of these. They are only about 30 mm long, so it’s difficult to get a really good close up:I don’t know where this depression is going. There seems to be no bottom. At least I’m still mostly functional. I get up and go to work except on days when I’ve notified the office staff that I have something else going on or I have urgent personal things to which I must attend. I socialise, I write. In short, to outward appearances I seem to be relatively normal. Inside smoulders a train wreck. In this heap of rubble the fire is spreading. I’m still rejecting drugs, because I still believe I can manage without and I don’t want to trade what I think is a manageable situation for one which lasts for an indeterminate length of time and may or may not help me. Furthermore, at the end of any treatment, I’d be left with the problem of getting off the drug. This can sometimes cause its own problems.

Even as bad as I feel now, as I look back over the last four months I have to acknowledge that I can mark progress month by month. Some of it is very significant progress. I’m sleeping much more easily and the nightmares have relented. The panics have receded into the dark corners. I sometimes feel those cold fingers reaching out, but they no longer pull me to the floor. Social gatherings have become easier to tolerate and I can sometimes feel good for an entire evening. Suicide no longer seems like an option. That’s a lot of improvement.

My friend Alison Raynor just suggested to me that I should start concentrating on how much I’m going to enjoy my trip to Australia. I think that’s good advice.

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17 Responses to “Flatworms and Ice Spikes – Yikes!”

  1. kristy Says:

    There is no rushing grief. I do not ‘hear’ anything unusual for one who has suffered a loss. I agree, with Alison…try to look forward to things and just keep plodding along.

    As for the pictures, lovely! I would love to see that bubbly thing!! The coral one, beautiful detail!

  2. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, I feel ashamed that, before I ever experienced deep grief, I thought people should “just get over it”. How callous! How ignorant! My attitude is considerably different now. I wonder how much of my depression is caused by lingering grief. I’m sure it must be a factor. If so, there’s nothing I can do about it. There is no way you can say, “Okay, I’m gonna grieve like crazy until the end of the month and then I’m gonna stop and call it enough.” I think that the truth is that grief never really leaves the party; it just changes its clothes.

    I remember the mistake of pushing hard on one of those bubbles to see what would happen. A bloody finger! That’s what. Did you know that your blood is green when you’re below about ten metres?

  3. kristy Says:

    “I think that the truth is that grief never really leaves the party; it just changes its clothes.”
    I like that as a description. I think one can only keep living and looking for small moments of enjoyment. As time goes on, the moments of enjoyment will gradually be more frequent as you learn how to live with a gaping hole in your ‘heart.’ The book, A Year of Magical Thinking, had a good description of grief…how it is like the wake of a boat. It is there all the time, but when you stop it can threaten to swamp you. (something along those lines anyway.)
    Just know that your presence is valued by many who do not know you face to face, as well , I am sure, as by your family.

    BTW, how is Hans’ beard going?
    Have given up on my search for ‘light’ before our Galapagos trip, we leave in less than a week!! Will use the camera set up like in Hawaii.

  4. Ron Barrons Says:

    Ice spikes? Now, that’s something new to me. I’ll have to buy some distilled water and hopefully see one for myself.

    As for the Flabelina, I’m surprised that you found it, let alone photographed it. It’s a great shot given its size.

  5. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, that book is one which you sent to me. I plan to read it when I feel like I can. You are right about grabbing the moments of enjoyment and increasing their frequency.

  6. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, you’re right about grabbing the moments of enjoyment and increasing their frequency. The book you mention is one which you sent to me. I have not read it yet. I’m waiting for the right time. I have read most of the others. The Adams books were not as good as I remembered him, but maybe I’ve changed. It has been a long time since I read the Hitchhiker series.

    You can find Hans’ growing hair here.

  7. MadDog Says:

    Ron, I’ve seen bigger ones a couple of times in the ice cube tray. Send me some pictures if you grow them.

    Rich Jones is my spotter. I can find ten percent of the stuff he sees. He spots; I photograph.

  8. Ali Says:

    It’s a geological joke.

    “Waiter, there’s a speleothem in my drink?”
    “No sir, it’s just the stalagm-ice the freezer”

  9. Ali Says:

    Let’s try that again…
    “Waiter, there’s a speleothem in my drink?”
    ” No sir, it’s just one of the stalagmice, from the freezer”
    Oh I hate repeating a joke!

  10. MadDog Says:

    Nice try, Ali.

  11. MadDog Says:

    That’s a little better, Ali.

  12. Mari Ellingson Says:

    Hi Jan,

    Belated Hepi Niu Yia greetings to you!

    Love the pics – my favourites are the coral. The Flabelina is amazing…what is it? a fish?

    As for grieving, you are so right ‘it never leaves the party, just changes its clothes’. The way I deal with it is to think of all the wonderful things we did with our love one(s) when they were with us.

    God bless you and keep u in the palm of His hand as always.

    Best wishes for the year ahead.


  13. MadDog Says:

    Hi Mari,

    The Flabelina is a wormy thing called a nudibranch. It’s not a fish. There are many kinds of nudibranchs.

    Remembering the good times is very healing. It seemed very difficult for me to get to the good memories through the veil of grief. They are coming back now.

    I wish you a good year.

  14. Ahna Says:

    Oh my gosh I almost did not recognize Hans at the end of that video. LOL Wow how we have all grown up.

    I agree with everyone the greiving thing does get better, never goes away but you have a different tolerance for it as time goes on. Glad to read that you are coping better and see a different light. The Hiccups are the worst.

  15. Ahna Says:

    GRRR it is getting late and I keep forgetting what i want to say about the photos. I love the ice one in the freezer. Questions ~ you collect the rain water in a cement tank, do you have to treat it in anyway or do you run it through a filter system? Im glad you explained the bubble thing to Kristi. I wondered from old posts how it would feel. Interesting that your blood turns green, has to do with the way color is contorted in the water? I have a new crinkle in my brain. Thanks.

  16. MadDog Says:

    Ahna, it’s not so much grief that drains me now. I will always grieve to some extent. Now it is the loneliness that is killing me. I don’t think that will ever diminish. I’m gonna have to do something about it. Eunie is cheering me on.

  17. MadDog Says:

    Ahna, the water goes directly from the tank into my pipes, so it’s as pure as rain can get. I don’t bother to filter it.

    I think that blood looks green because there is little red light left after you get below a few metres. Red is the primary colour in blood, but green is the second, I think. When there’s no red light, you just see the green component. That’s my guess.