Life in a Sea Cave

Some of the most amazing life on the planet comes from the ocean. Unlikely partnerships, life cycles, much of it happens under the deep blue sea. On the edges of the ocean you can find some rather remarkable things as well.

Sea Caves are overflowing with animal life that many never get the chance to see. The caves themselves are formed over time by the power of waves crashing against the shoreline. Great care should be taken in exploring sea caves, the pull of the water is much stronger once you’re beyond the mouth of the cave itself. The inhabitants of such remarkable structures, both in the water and littering the walls, are just as remarkable, if not more so then the cave itself.

Porto_Covo_February_2009-2[1]Your typical tide pool creatures can be found milling about any shallower area’s leaving any shallow pools littered with anemone’s, starfish and sponges. The darker area’s of a cave are home to citizens not normally found in shallow water. Many of the animals and creatures found here are considered ‘troglobites’ or cave limited species. Due to the lack of light in the deeper portions of the cave, over time, many lose their coloration, eyesight and adapt to such by an elongation of appendages to allow for enhancement of other senses.

Young Leopard Sharks often make home in the darker corners of sea caves. The caves provide shelter to the growing marine life and allow for growth while allowing the shark to hunt for it’s prey; mainly clams, spoon worms, crabs, shrimp, bony fish, and fish eggs. Unlike most sharks Leopard Sharks tend to remain in a particular area instead of constant travel which has led to a drastic genetic divergence between populations. As a slow growing species Leopard sharks can reach a maximum of 6 feet but generally average 4-5 at adulthood.

greenanemone[1]Giant Green Anemone are commonly found in sea caves. Growing over 10 inches in diameter, these Anemone are usually a solitary animal but some clusters can be found around mussel beds and places where food is abundant. With a diet consisting of starfish, mussels, crab and sea urchins a Sea Cave is the perfect place for them to remain safe, hidden and still have an ample supply of food. Often the anemone in these caves loses it’s typical green pigment. The algae living inside a Giant Green Anemone is what gives it it’s green coloration and those on the shoreline get enough light for the algae to grow and flourish. Those who reside in caves where there is no light tend to remain white to translucent.

To get better access to my local caves I needed to get some appropriate transportation. Inflatable kayaks are becoming very popular with advancements in technology meaning they are incredibly stable and will last a long time. I spent an age reading all the reviews (here) and ended up purchasing a kayak called the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak.

I plumped for the two person inflatable kayak because sometimes I will have the need to take a lot of equipment out with me, and the extra internal room can really be put to good use.

All in all Sea Caves are remarkable places filled with adaptable, unique animals that differ from those found upon the shoreline. Adaptations in sight, appendages and even pigmentation can all be observed in these amazing naturally occurring formations.