While the following subjects would have fit right in with yesterday’s underwater segment of the letter U, I purposely saved them for today’s letter, V.
An extreme example of deep sea dwellers (as in lightless depths of 2 -3000 feet), the Vampire Squid resides in regions known as Oxygen Minimum Zones, where these small creatures are somehow able to breathe normally in 3% oxygen saturation situations. Characteristics such as black or dark red coloring combined with a unique webbing that connects all eight arms like a cloak, and those beady blood-red eyes, all contributed to the naming of the distinctive creature. Not as one might imagine, a penchant for late-night snacks of blood. In reality, they feast exclusively on Marine Snow, which may explain the ability to (when agitated) eject clouds of bioluminescent mucus containing numerous orbs of blue light lasting long enough to dazzle the fins off of any would-be predators.
In contrast to the mild-mannered bottom-dwellers, predacious and teensy Violet Sea Snails float – upside down - on rafts of their own mucus and air bubbles, quite on the surface of tropical and subtropical oceans, feeding on hydrogens such as the deadly Man O’ War.
I took a fascinating Virtual Tour of Venice, Italy, and learned that it is part of a cluster of 118 small islands separated by canals and connected by more than 400 bridges. Venice was built on a shallow lagoon sometime during the 9th century. The city is considered to have been the first international financial center. It’s been a wealthy city throughout history. Lord Byron himself named “The Bridge of Sighs” for the last view convicts would have of Venice on their way from court to prison. It’s one of the many highlights of Venice, which hosts as many tourists each day as people who live there year-round. Amazing. There are 417 bridges in Venice, 72 are private. There are at least 500 luxuriant gardens scattered around the “City of Water,” though as far as I can tell, only one near St. Mark’s square is open to the public. There is talk that Venice may be nothing more than an amusement park by 2030 as the city is sinking at a rate of 1-2 millimeters per year, and the population decline (over half in the last 50 years) does not seem to be slowing down.
During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting. Though in less than ten years, he painted over 900 pieces. In addition, he wrote 800 letters, mostly to his brother.
So, if you had to choose a favorite sea creature…ah, just kidding. Have you taken any virtual tours lately?