Are we in the Christmas spirit yet? The malls are packed, none-stop Christmas carols on the radio, and it’s snowing where I live, so it should be a guaranteed white Christmas. Since we live in the country, we have a tradition that starts during the fall when we start scouting for a potential Christmas tree (balsam have the most scent, spruces are better at holding heavier ornaments).  We find a promising tree, about 6-8 feet tall and imagine it adorned in our special collection of glass ornaments, ones that we have acquired during our travels. We have a couple new ornaments to add this year; a miniature Anne of Green Gables found during our summer trip to Prince Edward Island, and a Hogswart Express picked up at Harry Potter World in Orlando, just a month ago.

 

Nature produces the Prettiest Christmas Trees with no help from us!

christmas tree worm, orly perry, Spirobranchus giganteus diving into christmas

But will our tree, as lovely as it will be, match up to others that nature has produced underwater?  For the divers out there, you know what I mean; the beautiful, fragile, Spirobranchus giganteus, popularly called a Christmas Tree Worm. Worms don’t sound very beautiful, but these are enchanting and they come in many more colors than your landlubber tree.

Joanna Klein of the New York Times wrote a very sweet story titled: To See the Best Christmas Trees, You’ll Need Scuba Gear.

In the Twinkle of an Eye!

Joanna describes how the Christmas Tree Worms don’t grow in soil and they’re not even plants and they don’t need ornaments because they are very beautiful all by themselves. What I like the best is they move, very quickly, in the “twinkle of an eye” to coin a phrase.

They are tiny animals that build tubular homes of calcium carbonate on tropical and subtropical coral reefs around the world. They are filter feeders that pop out of their tubes, spreading their branches to collect food drifting by. That’s when they look like tiny Christmas trees and they can dress the coral reef in bright, festive colors that welcome in the season all year around.

So, here’s my suggestion for this holiday season, catch a flight to the tropics, pop into your diving gear and find a reef full of Spirobranchus giganteus. When the dive is over, replace your rum and eggnog for a rum punch, and a roaring fire for a roaring surf.

Where ever you may be, Seasons Greetings from all of us at Blue Ocean Network!

Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network

 

See these related Blue Ocean articles:

Our Favorite Underwater Fathers!
Awesome and a Bit Bizarre Marine Life Discoveries
A Whale of a Tale
The Kraken sited off Virgin Gorda
Fifty Shades of Blue, A Valentine From The Deep
Old Fish, New Fish, All Things Fish, plus Whales, Sharks and Dugongs

 

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