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Archive for January, 2011

After spending a few freezing days last month in Ottawa, the thought of driving 2,500km due south sounded actually quite enticing.

I managed to get away for the coldest week of the year, got into one snow storm going down and barely escaped another one on the return trip. On my way south, I passed through a snowed-in Pittsburgh around midnight, it was an incredibly beautiful sight, with hardly any traffic, soft light and falling snow, but definitely not the time to stop on the freeway and taking photographs.

Florida was pleasant as usual, and the water in the ocean was swimmable, except one day when the stormy seas deposited on the beach deluge of light blue bodies of portuguese man-of-war. Many more were still in the water. Portuguese man-of-war belongs to a different family than jelly fish. It is sometimes found floating in groups of thousands. I guess, that was the day.

Portuguese man-of-war can’t swim. The creature moves by means of its crest that is a gas-filled (mostly nitrogen), bladder-like float, which functions as a sail to propel itself through the water with its tentacles hanging down sensing for any prey. Attached to that balloon are clusters of polyps which may be 3 to 12 inches long, but get this, from the polyps hang tentacles of up to 165 feet (about 50 meters) in length.

I managed to get one shot of a small floating specimen holding a tiny fish in its tentacles (see below). Since I didn’t have time to change to the telephoto lens, it was shot from a fair distance with a 50mm lens, but it depicts the little monster reasonably well. The sting of portuguese man-of-war can be very painful and can cause serious effects, including fever, shock, and interference with heart and lung action. Keep away from those blue balloons!

Here are some pictures from the trip to Broward County.

One of the many pastel coloured apartment buildings along the intracoastal waterway

Hillsboro lighthouse in Pompano Beach

Rush hour in Miami

Lonely tourist at the beach

Beached portuguese man of war

Portuguese man of war floating and holding small fish in its tentacles

Evening at the fishing pier in Lauderdale by the Sea

Nice sunset scene makes your day

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