The following is a recent occurrence in my life, not a dream but an exciting tale of discovery. I shall recount it as it happened. My dearest friend Katy and I enjoy treasure hunting at the beach, looking for bizarre shells, warped glass or ceramic shards surely originating from the early Zhou dynasty China. On this particular day we were contemplating the sandstone tide pools at Laurel Beach, when we spotted a creature wholly unknown to us. It was approximately three inches long, with a body shaped like a door stop, and a head like a tire lying flat on the ground. Inside the head, as viewed from above, we could see hundreds of little tentacle looking “feelers”. It had no eyes, and was entirely transparent, like some sort of jelly, it had four rounded flippers of receding size along its body, but seemed not to use them when it swam, opting instead for a strange side to side body wiggle that seemed highly ineffectual.
I scoured my Pacific North West sea-life field guide, nothing. I searched the internet, nothing. A month passed and I gave up on our alien visitor. I had Blue Planet on in the background while I cleaned the house, and happened to wander into the room when I saw a two-minute segment on the hooded sea slug. They were about ten inches long with these huge hoods they could open up to filter feed, and they lived in bull kelp forests. I was about to leave the room when it started to “swim” and suddenly everything clicked into place, Melibe Leonina, the hooded nudibranch was our alien. I looked back through my field guide and saw it represented there, unrecognizable as an adult with a fully unfurled hood, stationary.
I truly feel that had I not been in the room, paying attention at that moment, had I not chosen that specific disk, I would never have known. I had originally selected “frozen seas” but the disk didn’t work, so I popped in the alternative. I have watched Blue Planet and planet earth so very many times that I thought I could mime any episode sans the accent upon request, but I had never focused on the sea slugs.
I began a new search for images and fun facts about my newest favorite, and to my astonishment I found a man who owns a small glass blowing and sculpture studio in Hawaii who makes and sells hooded sea slug pendants of all things. His Etsy was closed unfortunately, and it turns out he has taken a break from glass-work in favor of metal sculpture, which vexed me, putting my expedition on hold for the present moment. I hope to continue my efforts, and have emailed his account, I shall keep you updated if ever I obtain this special little guy.