It was the smell that hit us first.  A nauseating whiff of rotten fish that made us gag when the beach was still hidden around the corner.  We had to stop and investigate the bright pink, the awful stench.  Getting out of the car and walking down onto the beach we couldn’t help but crunch, crushing the tiny prawn-like creatures that carpeted the yellow sand like the best kind of gravel driveway.

We were in Southern New Zealand, on the Otago Pensinula and it was krill.  Whale food.  Plankton.  I knew about plankton of course, learnt about it at school.  But I never thought I’d actually see it, laying in thick drifts on the beach and floating like clouds of blood in the cold Antarctic water.  It’s hard to believe that these tiny krill contain enough calories to feed the truly awesome whales that visit this coast, but they do.  Things like this make me happy.


This week’s Gallery theme is ‘extreme close up’.

  1. I didn’t expect them to be that big. I thought all plankton was tiny microscopic things!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      They’re smaller than brown shrimps, but not microscopic. I didn’t realise either.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      me too!

  2. Emily said:

    AMazing pictures and story, I had no idea they looked like that! I thought they were transparent for some reason x

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      I think some are, but these were pink!

  3. Wow I wondered what they were. I also thought they were smaller than that. It’s true, you do learn something new everyday!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      That’s why I love travel. So much to learn!

  4. Jacq said:

    Plankton is just a generic name for any organism drifting in the sea not close to the bottom or near to the shore. A lot is microscopic but it can include creatures as big as jellyfish!
    You are right though, krill does stink!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      We saw great red drifts of them when we went out on a boat.

  5. Wow. Stunning pics but have to say that makes me feel the teeniest bit sick 🙂

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      You should have smelt it!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      Thank you!

  6. That’s incredible. As someone else said, it made me feel a little queasy. Very pleased I didn’t smell it!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      It was revolting.

  7. I can’t think of krill without thinking of that scene from Finding Nemo…”Kriiiiiiiiil”.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      I’d forgotten about that!

  8. Fantastic! I learn something new every time I come here.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily said:

      I aim to serve.

  9. Kirsty said:

    Amazing – like everyone else I am surprised that they are big enough to see. A shame the horrid smell mars such a beautiful view!

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