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Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Octopus's Garden ...

Do you know the Beatles' song the Octopus's Garden ?

It's a real classic. Well here's the thing: I think I've found it. No, seriously, I know just the spot. It's hidden in the shallows in a rather splendid little cove, called Cala Pedrosa, where we like to go rock-pooling.

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava
Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

 Do you see how clear the water is? And it's full of life. There are countless types of seaweed, creating dark underwater forests where the Costa Brava sun can scarcely penetrate. It's the perfect place for any right-thinking Octopus to have his garden in the shade.




Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava
Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

Emi had his cousin, D, to stay last weekend. It was a big deal. Emi, being an only child, values his cousins in a way that folk with lots of siblings may not have to. D is just a year older, so the two of them are pretty much on the same page. They both like to play computer games - A LOT. In fact one of the challenges with little chaps this age (10 and 11) is overcoming the lure of their screens and getting them to do what us older folk would regard as normal play stuff. How the world has changed since my own childhood ...

Anyway after they'd played lots of tennis and watched the Batman v Superman movie, which was playing at the local cinema <which,  incidentally, felt like the longest movie ever ... > I suggested we go look for the Octopus's Garden. Emi immediately knew what I was on about and started singing the song, which is what happens after too much exposure to his mum's playlist. D looked a bit mystified. It may have got lost in translation ... but they were soon happily brandishing their nets and poking around in the shallows looking for sea creatures.

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava
Rock-pooling in Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

The water is so clear that you can take reasonable photos without submerging either yourself or your camera. Just look at all the seaweed growing here.

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava


It's a strange, hypnotic world that sways back and forth with the movement of the waves. Down in the rocky depths live sea urchins. In Spanish they're called erizos de mar. This literally translates as sea hedgehogs, which I think sounds so much better than sea urchins. Shall we start a campaign to change their name in English?

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava
Sea urchins in Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava
Sea urchins in Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava
And on the sandy bottoms there are beautiful molluscs with great fanned-out shells that look lite underwater satellite dishes. On the really big ones you can see the penumbra of little tentacles that protrude into the water in search of food particles.

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava


Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

On some of the rocks, just above the waterline you sometimes find sea anemones with their tentacles retracted, waiting for the level to rise and submerge them once again. They always look alien and vaguely threatening to me. Maybe I'm just hardwired to see red as a keep-clear danger colour. 

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava
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Discarded in the shallows there are any number of abandoned shells.

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

Emi and his cousin know to look amongst them for hermit crabs, which always make me think of jolly caravaners careering off in stolen vans. 

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

But the prize find down at the rock pools are the big crabs. And some of them are quite impressive. The prize on this outing went to Emi, who found and captured one that was almost half the size of his hand. Here it is in his improvised bucket-aquarium. 

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

They caught a few more, before it was time for home. 

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

And then they carried their buckets over to the sandy beach, tipped them up and watched as all the crabs ran a funny sideways race back to the sea. It was a very good crab race, one of the best. Emi's big crab won, of course, and it was hard to watch without hopping around on the sand in fear of one of them grabbing your toe on his way past.

Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava
Cami de Ronda and the Cala Pedrosa, Costa Brava

All the best for now,


Bonny x










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