Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cloudy With A Chance Of Divers

It was a very gray morning and continued to be a gray day until later in the afternoon. The weather report said that it wouldn't rain, but the cloud cover was thick. The temperature was very comfortable and there was a light breeze. The lack of sunshine did not deter the divers. By 10:00 this morning, there were nearly 40 divers in the park. Three of the groups were classes of seven to fifteen people and because they were classes, broke into smaller groups when they actually went under water. Half stayed on the surface while the others dove. Because of the larger groups splitting up, the other groups staggering themselves, and an unusual amount of thoughtfulness and consideration for each other, it was never too crowded in the spring and the water was never silted up. Usually, newer divers are not as aware of the effect that their movements have on the very loose silt at the bottom of the spring and one sloppy fin kick will cloud the otherwise clear water. Today that was not the case. I was really impressed.
There were so many people in the park, that I really didn't do much of anything today besides talk with park visitors. I took a few photos, but the cloudy day did not present a lot of opportunities. There weren't many active insects until late in the day either. The lizards that are usually sunning themselves on the railing of the walkway were doing their best to hide from two little boys who wanted to catch them. Here are the few shots that I did get today.
The spring appeared to be boiling most of the morning. Each column of bubbles is a diver under the water. Some springs naturally have a boil, or a spot where water is bubbling to the surface from the force of the water coming from the spring vent. We don't see that at Troy because the vent is so far underwater, but sometimes people mistake a diver's bubbles for the spring boil. I answer that question often, but I wonder how many people don't ask and just take that assumption home with them.
I have posted a photo of this type of spider before. Its a Spinybacked Orbweaver. The last photo I posted was better, but I wanted to show this one because you can see the fuzzy little tufts that are placed throughout this spiders' web. They may act as a visual warning to birds or even people who might otherwise damage the web accidentally from running into it. It is the reason that I spotted this one today, I would have run right into its web, but I saw the little fluff of fuzz.
I also saw this Banana Spider, or Golden Orbweaver. This is a very common spider in Florida and I'm sure that I have blogged about it before. This spider was working on mending its web. Banana Spiders have very strong silk and usually build large webs. Rather than taking down the whole web and rebuilding it after a catch as many spiders do, this spider will just patch its web as needed. There has been a Banana Spider with her giant web right above a path between my office and the picnic area for over a week now. I see it daily and still think its funny when I see people stopping to look up at it. From a distance, the spider web is invisible so the person looks like they are just staring at nothing with a very focused look on their face. I wonder how many people have seen me doing the same thing.

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