Do you remember when we first met? I told you that I live in a neighborhood made of coral reef. I was swimming along today and I found another type of neighborhood. This is a place made by people for marine animals to visit. It is called an artificial reef.
Artificial reef – an underwater structure people make to provide food and shelter for marine life.
Just like natural reefs, people enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and diving near artificial reefs. It is a good way to see animals who live in the ocean.
There are several artificial reefs of the coast of this location. Many were made in the shape of animals. My personal favorite is Turtle Reef!
I also enjoy swimming through Dolphin and Seahorse reefs.
Did you figure out where I was visiting artificial reefs?
I’m off the coast of Destin Florida!
The South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) is responsible for making these amazing reefs. Marine animals and humans can enjoy them. They are close to the shore so they are easy to swim, kayak, or paddle board to.
If you visit a beach in this Gulf Coast area, bring your snorkel!
The Gulf Coast is on a body of water called the Gulf of Mexico.
I will be spending a little time here so I hope to see you!
Brr! I don’t know where I am but it’s very cold here! I swam south for a long time. I’m at a continent that is almost completely covered in ice.
Continent – large continuous piece of land
Continents are so large, there are only 7 of them on Earth. How many of them can you name?
Guess what! I met a new friend. His name is Rocky. He’s a penguin. He’s not like any penguin I’ve ever seen before. He is so BIG! In fact, these giant penguins are all I see. Rocky has many friends and family! They are the only thing I see.
As much as I like hanging out with Rocky, I don’t think I will stay here. It’s too cold for this girl from Hawaii.
Could you please tell me where I am so I can swim to a warmer place soon?
This continent is covered in ice. I am in Antarctica! Did you guess it?
Antarctica is in the south pole. Even though I swam south, I went far away from the equator.
Equator – imaginary line that goes around Earth. It divides the earth from north to south.
Antarctica is the coldest continent on Earth. It has no direct sunlight and can get as cold as -82 degrees Fahrenheit. In case you missed it, that’s MINUS 82! It is covered in ice and very few animals can live here because it so cold.
You know who can live here? Rocky, the Emperor Penguin. Emperor Penguins are the largest penguins on Earth. They can grow to be almost 4 feet tall and up to 100 lbs. Now that’s a big penguin.
Emperor Penguins are endemic to Antarctica.
Endemic means they live no other place in the world than right here!
That may be fine for Rocky, but I’m freezing my shell off. Time to go.
It is almost time for us to ring in 2022! Many people have a New Year’s Resolution.
Resolution – a decision to do something or stop doing something
If you are looking for a New Year’s Resolution, I have some ideas for you. Sea Turtles are endangered species. That means we are at risk for extinction. Extinction means that once the last animal of that species dies, they are gone forever.
Endangered – at risk of extinction Extinction – the dying out of a species
There are many reasons for Sea Turtles to become endangered.
Caught in nets from commercial fishing
Sold for their shells
Can you can think of some things to do to help us from becoming endangered?
Send me your ideas and I’ll give you some ways to help. You can add them to your New Year’s Resolutions!
I met a new friend on my way back up from the deep ocean. Before I tell you who I’m with, I will give you a hint.
His name has something in common with the guy in the picture above. It’s a big name for a small animal. He is usually less than 1 foot long. He has webbing between his eight legs. There are spines along his legs. They make this animal look even scarier!
He lives in the deep, dark sea. He has organs that produce light. When a predator approaches him, he can flash the light from those organs. This helps to distract the predator so he can swim away. He has very big eyes, which also help him see in the dark.
Predator – an animal that attacks another animal, usually for food. Photophores – organs that produce light.
He can also turn inside out to protect himself. This puts those spines on the outside to keep attackers away!
Who do you think I’m with? Can you use the clues I gave you to figure out what he is called? I’ll give you the answer soon. Happy hunting!
Did you figure out who I am with? Let’s think about the clues. He has 8 legs. He has a name in common with a vampire. He lives in the deep dark ocean. And he has photophores, organs that make light.
I’m spending Halloween with a Vampire Squid! Despite his name, he is not truly a squid. He is an animal called a cephalopod. Cephalopod – a marine animal characterized by a large head and tentacles.
They can be different colors. Some are light red. The black ones give you a good idea where they got their name! Their big eyes help them see in the dark pelagic zone of the ocean. They can turn themselves inside out when approached by a predator. This helps protect them by putting their spines out toward the threat. This makes them appear more menacing. Would you want to mess with this guy?
Check out this video by National Geographic to see a vampire squid turn himself inside out. If you pay close attention, you will see him wink at you, too! I hope you had a spooky Halloween! We’ll talk soon, Love Kit.
I’m still in the Pacific Ocean. The waters feels a bit warmer. I think I’m closer to the equator.
I’m resting close to shore and I can’t believe my eyes. Thousands of sea turtles are coming ashore and nesting at the same time! I’ve never seen so many sea turtles on the beach! The are all arriving from the sea at once.
It’s also strange that they are nesting during the daylight. Most sea turtles nest at night because it is cooler.
These girls do a funny little dance after they lay their eggs and push sand over the nest. They tilt their bodies from side to side and pack the sand with their plastron. A plastron is the shell covering their bellies.
These momma turtles are smaller than I am. But they sure are cute! Their shells are only about 2 feet long, half the size of my shell. Green sea turtles like me weigh between 150 and 450 pounds. These sea turtles weigh less than 100 pounds.
Where do you think I am? And what kind of turtles am I seeing?