Last year, I heard about a Sea Horse out in about 50' of water off Airport Beach. It had been seen for a couple months but by the time I heard about it, it had disappeared. Since then, I have been real interested in seeing one of these rare and illusive creatures. A diver friend, Mike, recently told me that he saw one in very shallow water about a month ago off the beach at the north end of Kaanapali. I went out a couple times in less than ideal visibility with no luck.
Today, 9-20-09, Mike swam up to me while I was watching some eagle rays at Airport and told me that he had seen a sea horse during his morning dive at his local spot. He was game to join me in a search. We got out there and started looking for the needle in the hay stack. After maybe 5-10 minutes, Mike came up with a crab:
Not too much longer, Mike swam over to me and said he had found the sea horse. Cool!!
Mike always has his camera with him when he is out guiding his clients on a dive and this was a chance for him to be on the other side of the camera.
I am not sure when we first noticed that this sea horse was not alone and it may be that the shot below was taken before we realized what was up. I believe Mike was going in to coax the sea horse out of the algae but if you look closely, there are two sea horses in the clump!! The new one was larger and quite full in belly! Pregnant?
The new one is on the right hand side in the image below coming right at the camera. You can see its large belly. The first sea horse is on the left side and swimming off to the left.
I noticed that the sea horses didn't care for the dome of the camera housing getting close to them and they would turn away from it. I reached out past the sea horse with the camera and pointed it back at myself. I got a couple shots and also got to look face on at the sea horse for a change.
We left the sea horses in peace and headed in. I saw another crab and dove down for a shot:
Just about to shore, Mike asked to borrow my probe so he could coax out a small tako.
Once it was settled on his hand, it was not inclined to leave. He finally got it to drop off and it went in parachute mode to the bottom.
I wanted to get my hand in on the fun too.
It was time to call it a day but what a great day!! Many Mahalo's to Mike!!
I came back the next morning to see if I could find these guys again and maybe get some different shots. Within a minute or two, I came across the large, presumably male, sea horse.
I left him to the strong surge and went off in search of other animals. I came across another sea horse which is likely the same smaller one from yesterday, perhaps his mate.
She has a longer mane on her head and certainly presents a more petite profile! It would be great to visit these guys when there was no wind or swell surge murking up the shallows and putting them to constant work of hanging on.
A couple days later, 9-27-09. Ui and Keith joined me in visiting the seahorse.
Another self portrait:
The surge made the sand storm at the bottom terrible for any decent shots.