Flip Flop Seahorses

Evolutionary Success Story

Up to 150 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create these seahorse sculptures from a 2020 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

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Seahorses are tiny fish with heads that look like…horses! Their curved flexible tail is used to grasp objects, mostly anchoring the seahorse to plants.

Their genus, Hippocampus, includes 46 species indicating evolutionary success for their body shape and adaptations. Just hatched seahorses cling together in groups, hook by their tails. Excellent at camouflage, a seahorse hides from predators while waiting to ambush dinner.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Kinsale Walking Tour 8

An ivy clad nook

The eighth of a series of idiosyncratic posts from a walking tour of Kinsale by Dermot Ryan. My Sony Alpha 700 captured the events back in May 2014.

Ducking into an alleyway with the haughty name, “Chairmans’ Way,” we stepped into a different world.

Promising a castle, it delivered these charming offerings.

This doorway, yellow roses (Pam’s favorite) and Calla Lilies.

An ivy clad nook / cottage.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Flip Flop Manatee

Happy “Profitable Friday” 2022

Up to 400 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create this Manatee sculpture from a 2020 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Manatee with fans

Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act and under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Today, the range-wide population is estimated to be at least 13,000 manatees, with more than 6,500 in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico.

Florida has cherished the Sea Cow with the population increasing 25% from 1991, going from 1,267 to more than 6,300.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Kinsale Walking Tour 7

Literary Encouragement

The seventh of a series of idiosyncratic posts from a walking tour of Kinsale by Dermot Ryan. My Sony Alpha 700 captured the events back in May 2014.

So much to see around Newman’s Mall, coming upon “Stone Mad.” Possibly a reference to The Maiden Stone of Scotland. Maiden Stone and Persephone, 8th century AD, and 1961, Shaun Crampton. The salmon-pink granite monolith known as the Maiden Stone was erected by the Picts in the eighth century AD at the time when Christianity was filtering into the north-east. It bears, Janus-like, a series of vivid symbols, carved in relief, and, on the other face, a round-headed cross, set between a possible cavalry scene and a great roundel filled with interlace. The symbols, which are vigorously carved in relief and include a beast or dolphin, mirror and comb, look back to the powerful range of animal and object symbols used as a kind of heraldry on memorial stones in the two previous centuries. The cross side indicates its use as a preaching site during the conversion of the Picts. The notch out of the northern edge of the stone has fed a legend concerning the daughter of the laird of Balquhain who was baking bannocks on her wedding day and bet a stranger that she could finish her task before he had built a road to the top of Bennachie, ‘ere she would become his own’. Being the Devil, he won: she took to her heels and, in answer to her prayers, was turned to stone as he caught her, the notch being the spot where he grasped her

Looking outside through window bars, viewing a quote written carefully in white paint on slate, written of the Misses Morkan’s of “The Dead”, in James Joyce’s 1914 short story collection, “Dubliners.”

What is behind a fascinating red door in the yellow wall that held the above quote.

A cosy nook….

References
“Aberdeenshire: Donside and Strathbogie – An Illustrated Architectural Guide”, by Ian Shepherd, 2006. Published by the Rutland Press Kinsale, County Cork, Republic of Ireland

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Flip Flop Crab

Eyes on stalks and an exoskeleton composed of chitin

Up to 400 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create each sea turtle sculpture from a 2019 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Blue land crabs inhabit McKee Gardens, only resembling these specimens, made from as many as 400 discarded flip flops, in having ten legs for which the Order Decapoda is named. The front two legs are specialized chelae (claws) for grabbing and eating whatever is in front of them (omnivorous). Two other characteristics are eyes on stalks and an exoskeleton composed of chitin. From an exhibit of creations by the Ocean Sole Africa project, McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Blue land crabs inhabit McKee Gardens, only resembling these specimens, made from as many as 400 discarded flip flops, in having ten legs for which the Order Decapoda is named.

The front two legs are specialized chelae (claws) for grabbing and eating whatever is in front of them (omnivorous). Two other characteristics are eyes on stalks and an exoskeleton composed of chitin.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Kinsale Walking Tour 6

Since 1690

The sixth of a series of idiosyncratic posts from a walking tour of Kinsale by Dermot Ryan. My Sony Alpha 700 captured the events back in May 2014.

Walk across the square from the Museum to Newman’s Mall, the ancient heart of Kinsale.

Within Market Place is this bust and memorial to Peter Memorial. the plaque text reads: “Peter Barry arrived in Kinsale in 1963 and settled in Scilly where he made his home. In those early years he operated and developed Scilly’s unique Spaniard Pub and the Man Friday restaurant, and later the Grey Hound Bar in Market Place. Peter Barry’s vision and selfless commitment to making Kinsale the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Irish tourism inspired others to join with him to work on a voluntary basis for the common good of the town. This led to the formation of organizations such as the Good Food Circle of Restaurants, and the Kinsale Chamber of Tourism. Many events followed such as the Wild Geese Weekends of the 70’s, the annual Gourmet Festival, International Food Forums, the Wine Museum at Desmond Castle and others which extended Kinsale’s tourism season to being an all year round affair. Kinsale and its community owes a great debt of gratitude to Peter Barry -Truly a Man for all Seasons.”

There is the Greyhound Pub, among the rest, at one time run by Mr. Peter Barry.

And again…..”Established 1690″ indeed.

The oldest pub in Kinsale, or anywhere.

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Flip Flop Sea Turtle

Light pollution from beach development is a threat to baby sea turtles; the glow from city sources can cause them to head into traffic instead of the ocean.

450 recycled flip flops were used by Ocean Sole Africa Project artists to create each sea turtle sculpture from a 2019 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Sea turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea), sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines and of the suborder Cryptodira. Sea turtles can be found in all oceans except for the polar regions. Sea turtles are generally found in the waters over continental shelves.

During the first three to five years of life, sea turtles spend most of their time in the pelagic zone floating in seaweed mats. Once the sea turtle has reached adulthood it moves closer to the shore. Females will come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches during the nesting season. Sea turtles migrate to reach their spawning beaches, which are limited in numbers. Living in the ocean therefore means they usually migrate over large distances.

All sea turtles have large body sizes, which is helpful for moving large distances. Large body sizes also offer good protection against the large predators (notably sharks) found in the ocean. Light pollution from beach development is a threat to baby sea turtles; the glow from city sources can cause them to head into traffic instead of the ocean. There has been some movement to protect these areas. On the east coast of Florida, parts of the beach known to harbor sea turtle nests are protected by fences.

This Sea Turtle sculpture graces the entrance of McKee Gardens as a permanent exhibit.

Conservationists have monitored hatchings, relocating lost baby sea turtles to the beach. Hatchlings find their way to the ocean by crawling towards the brightest horizon and can become disoriented along the coastline. Lighting restrictions can prevent lights from shining on the beach and confusing hatchlings. Sea turtle-safe lighting uses red or amber LED light, invisible to sea turtles, in place of white light.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Kinsale Walking Tour 5

Kinsale Giant with pickled herring

The fifth of a series of idiosyncratic posts from a walking tour of Kinsale by Dermot Ryan. My Sony Alpha 700 captured the events back in May 2014.

A stone’s throw from the antique mooring of post 4 is this former Courthouse building, Market Square. Built around about 1600, with additions in 1706 which included the frontage with the loggia on the ground floor. Offices and a jury room were provided on the first floor, and part of the original building was converted into a paneled courtroom.

It was in this building that the Kinsale Town Corporation and its sovereign conducted their affairs and the Courthouse was also used for ceremonial occasions in the 18th century. This courthouse was the location for the inquest on the victims of the Lusitania, sunk off the Old Head of Kinsale in 1915 and is now home to the Regional Museum.

The Museum in the Courthouse includes a display on the famous Kinsale Giant. He was Patrick Cotter O’Brien. He died in 1806 and is believed to have been over 8 foot tall.

The Museum houses the largest collection of maritime artefacts in Ireland.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Flip Flop Octopus

890 recycled flip flops were used in this sculpture

This common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) specimen was created by artists of Ocean Sole Africa. 890 recycled flip flops were used in this sculpture. from a 2019 exhibit hosted by McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida.

Octopuses are adaptable and intelligent 8-limbed creatures known live in and around ocean reefs, deep ocean and intertidal zones. Invertebrate, without a skeleton an octopus can hide in tight spaces. Maneuvering and hunting, each tentacle is lined with suckers that grab rocks and prey. Existing solely on meat, these carnivores prey on crabs and shellfish, finding them with sharp binocular eyesight and devouring with a sharp parrot-like beak. Their defenses include camouflage, changing skin color to made surroundings, ejection of thick black ink to distract a predator and escape. A last line of defense is sacrificing an arm that can grow back over time. These blue-blooded aristocrats have three hearts!

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Kinsale Walking Tour 4

A mysterious chili pepper and hidden watchers

The fourth of a series of idiosyncratic posts from a walking tour of Kinsale by Dermot Ryan. My Sony Alpha 700 captured the events back in May 2014.

This mural on the corner wall where Market Quay meets the Market Square. I puzzled over the following photograph until I recognized the Chili Pepper from the mural.

Without Dermot Ryan’s storytelling I’d never have guessed this stub of a post was a bollard to which ships’ mooring lines were fastened. It follows the memorial bollard is close to the lane named “Market Quay.”

The Jim Edwards hotel and restaurant façade is a colorful and elegant element of Market Quay.

Dermot told a tale about spies, looking from windows above the square, reporting on shortcomings of citizens.

Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills