For this week’s challenge, I first thought of boats. Picturesque boats, like the one on the harbor (or is that harbour?) in Dingle, Ireland.
One of the best times I’ve had on a boat was our tour of the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. We spent about a week on the ship, traveling from island to island, even crossing the Equator. There were about a dozen of us university students, plus our professors, sharing a charming little yacht called the Coral I.
As zoology students, we were of course interested in sighting animals on the water. We saw sea birds, turtles, penguins, sea lions…and lizards. Yes, that’s right, the Galapagos have a swimming lizard, called the marine iguana.
Marine iguanas mostly spend their days sunning on the shore, but to feed they dive down and use their blunt teeth to scrape algae off rocks. They have some really cool adaptations for this lifestyle, including bradycardia or slowing of heart rate while under water, and “sneezing” out excess salt when back on land.
Strangely, I took no pictures of sunrise or sunset on this Ireland trip, but between the long summer days and all the hiking, etc., I did not have much cause to be awake at either sunrise or sunset.
This, however, was an early morning sight upon rising in Dingle: a charming way to start the day. Everything about Dingle is charming. I enjoyed the view of the cows eating their breakfast as we were eating ours.
I wanted to take a shot of one of the main squares in quaint Dingle, while at the same time highlighting something very important about it: ice cream. Murphy’s is “handmade in Dingle,” and could legitimately be called the best ice cream ever. I think I had chocolate and sea salt flavors in this dish (but I sampled several, all good).
One of the interesting features of the grounds around Blarney Castle is the Poison Garden. As the name implies, the plants here are various poisons, including wolfsbane, mandrake, and ricin. There are signs basically warning you to enter at your own risk, and not touch anything!
Pictured here is common juniper, Juniperus communis, a very common ornamental shrub (especially common in Ireland, too). The berries are edible, but bitter. They have some medicinal uses, even possibly acting as a contraceptive or abortifacient. They are also thought to be toxic to dogs.