Those who have followed my adventures on these islands will know that they have not always been easy. From the pestering of paranoid locals with their bizarre myths about the islands to the series of odd events that have befallen me. Today started with another such event, when I woke to find my flotation device had been burst. Not by a sharp rock, as I thought at first, but deliberately punctured. I am not usually a light sleeper, so I am not sure how someone managed to enter my tent without my knowing, but I can’t see what other explanation is possible. On discovery of the attack, I scouted around looking for evidence and found no footsteps leading to my tent. However, I took a glance to the canvas on the roof of my tent, and found tiny, bare footprints, as if an imp had leapt with muddy feet across it. I assume this can only be a practical joke carried out by my visitor the fisherman.
After this rather unsettling start to the day, I boiled up a pot of coffee, a returned with a mug to sit inside the tent and contemplate. What I found was this.
I could see that it was most likely a type of slime mould, in the class Myxomycetes, but not one I had ever encountered before.This one had small sticky blobs that attached it to the tent ceiling and the consistency of chewing gum. However, what confused me was How could it have entered my tent so quickly? Slime moulds are mobile, but they move slowly, this had made it to the roof of my tent in minutes. I poked it with a stick and it shrank into a blob shape hanging from the ceiling, where it stayed for several minutes.
I sat watching and sipping my coffee, hoping it would give me further clue, in fact I ended up spending the day sitting in my tent, watching and sketching and learning the bizarre life cycle of my new friend.
Once I had remained still for some time, it slowly reattached itself. To do this it reaches out with a pseudopodial appendage and then grows a new sticky blob to attach itself (seen above). One particularly curious thing about this process, is that whenever I moved, the mould would stay still, as if it could sense my presence.
After I had remained still for a while, the mould became confident and bounced its way quite enthusiastically around my tent, as shown in the diagram above. The final defensive position occurred when I poked it again; a foul smell was given off this time and was like that of rotting eggs.
The above drawings show what happened when the hyperactive fellow settled down on the frame of my rucksack. I believe the small, spherical objects are enlarged spores, shot away from the mould to start anew. I attempted to dissect some, but they crumbled to dust.