Monday, December 6, 2021

Unique “Sights” and Changing “Sites” on the Isles of Capri

Rumination from the Rock and Beyond

Photos by Jory Westberry | Water lilies bloom in the pouring rain.

In a wink of an eye, this miracle faded.

There are new houses going up all over the Isles of Capri, and I mean UP. There are many lovely one-story homes on the lushly landscaped property and there are many unique two-story homes. Now, the three-story homes are claiming the blue skies and views from lots of open areas designed into their construction plans. I’m fairly certain that when the building is complete, the landscaping will be as magnificent as the homes. 

Pelican Bend, where the sautéed fish and food is consistently amazing, finished their September deep cleaning and reopened to crowds that patiently waited to order their favorite meals, once again. The view is sensational, the service terrific as usual and it was great to have our favorite comfort food once again. Mike and Debbie Cooper, as well as their extended family members, have made this a “go-to” destination for many moons. If you haven’t dined there recently, they have lovely outside seating near the chickee bar with a view of the fishing boats that come and go with their catches. You can put your name on the list, take your pager and go outside and chill, order beer or wine, or make a reservation. 

In addition to the “uprising” of homes, there are some mysteries rising up! One day the Stone Crab/Fish Processing Building was there, and then it was gone. The crab traps are still piled up neatly, but they appear to be destined for… something? What? There’s no place to process any Gulf catch. This site seemed to disappear overnight. 

Milkweed attracts Monarch butterflies in droves to a neighbor’s garden.

Adjacent to this property was a former pizza/convenience store, real estate office and one day it was there, then a few days later this site was gone! Everything is beautifully cleaned up, but what’s going on? I’m reminded of the Beatles song, “Magical Mystery Tour” lyrics “waiting to take you away Okay, to where and why and by whom? Don’t you love a good mystery? 

As for the unique sights seen around the Isles, they are a photographer’s dream. Water lilies growing and purple pickerel thriving in the overflowing culverts after the steady rains we had several days back for several days, butterflies landing so lightly on milkweed flowers in the neighbor’s garden that they don’t even move the flower, bees in mid-air and flocks of birds dining on the insects in the lawns, dolphin tracking the elusive Jacks and another vibrant sunset scene, caught in the nick of time. 

Another amazing sight in the waters of the Isles of Capri that occurs periodically is the observations of the Moon Jellies, named for their similarity to a full moon in the sky. Another recognizable visual on the Moon Jelly are three to five blue, usually four horseshoes on the top of the bell These magnificent translucent creatures undulate through the water with not a care in the world. They glide with the tides and propel themselves in tropical and subtropical oceans and can survive in the lower salinity found in harbors and estuaries. Their pulsations turn them almost upside down and they return to upright gracefully. You can actually look through them, especially the bigger they are. Their sizes range from two inches up to sixteen inches.  

The Moon Jelly has a short fringe of tentacles that have minor stinging power, but they are not powerful enough to penetrate the human skin. If a tentacle touches your skin, it can easily be washed off with saltwater and the sting can be treated with baking soda or vinegar. They also have four longer arms that resemble white fringe. They are often seen visually because they predominate in the uppermost level of the oceanthe epipelagic areaand are close to the surface of the water.  

The fringe and the longer tentacles are visible on the Moon Jelly.

Another apt name for this beautiful creature would be the Smart Moon Jelly. Why? They will absorb their own tissue if they are starving. When food is plentiful, they grow back to their normal size. They are carnivores and use the nerves at the end of their tentacles to determine the salinity and temperature of the water and to herd their “catch” in closer proximity to the stomach and all of these functions without having a brain or heart.  

Predators include birds, other jellyfish, various kinds of fish and leatherback sea turtles. Unfortunately, the leatherbacks also mistake plastic bags for the Moon Jellies, ingest them and die, sadly. 

Being observant of Nature is an amazing gift to all of us when we open our eyes and hearts. 



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