I was an avid viewer of all things David Attenborough in my younger days; his depictions, narrations and absolute knowledge of wildlife was utterly inspiring and mesmerizing and undoubtedly helped to cultivate my love of the environment.
I particularly enjoyed his programmes about sea life as I lived by the beach, so to see that incredible aquatic landscape in such vivid colours was a gift. The sea across the street from my house was a murky thing and only rarely afforded decent snorkelling opportunities. There were a few rock pools at low tide but the best we got to find were a few dowdy crabs, the occasional lobster, shrimp and Rock Gurnards (a spiky fish an unpleasant sting).
One fine and sunny afternoon in Sitges I found a rock pool and in my usual Nancy Drew fashion decided to investigate.
The pool had the normal suspects of black crabs, prawn and small fish but I spied something new to me, at least in person – the Sea Cucumber.
At around 15cm long with a slightly spiky texture it wallowed in the shallow water. I wasn’t brave enough to pick it up at first, especially as I’d seen plenty of horror films as a kid, David Cronenberg’s 1975 classic Shivers in particular.
I also didn’t want to disturb the poor thing as it was just performing its natural duty which is to clean the sea bed of excess crud.
The Sea Cucumber is also known as Holothuroidea and can be eaten (as in Japan where they’re considered a delicacy) or left alone to live a prosperous existence in the custodial arts. It has a natural defence mechanism and when tampered with or attacked it will shoot a white, gloopy fluid from its head; very much like the natural defences of the male porn star.
I decided against finding out, no not with the male porn star. No I didn’t go near the male porn star in the first place. Oh grow up.
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