More seahorse pics taken 10-20 with friends Frank and Lu and then solo on 10-22-09.
The female is prone to take off as soon as you approach her. These days the current has been quite strong and I know I could end up with her far from her chosen area in pursuit of some images with a long return swim ahead for her. I opted to corral her with my hand, get some shots and then return her to where I found her. This was my approach this day and after returning her to her roost where I found her, I observed that she remained there for the duration I was out there. I would swim by her while looking for the male and after taking shots of the male and heading back in, she was still in place.
The male is much more inclined to stay put and if I or anyone else does get too close, he will let go of his anchor point but not swim far before latching on, once again. I understand from reading up on these fish that the male can billow out its pouch, possibly as a means to attract females. It of course also makes him look quite pregnant. I and other divers have noticed that on some days, he looks ready to give birth any second and yet on others, it appears he has given birth. We don't know for certain if we are even seeing the same seahorse of if there are multiple males out here. On these two days, the male seen looks quite pregnant but whether this is the case and/or he is just puffing up for the benefit of observers, I have no idea.
The pictures above were taken as stated on the 20th and 22nd. I was also out on the 21st to visit the seahorses and I did ultimately find them with my friend Mike but the sky was overcast and the wave surge combined to make the shots I took less than they might have been and I have already posted too many shots of these cool creatures! Before Mike joined me in the water, he was on the beach and a number of people had gathered to watch a pair of mating spotted eagle rays who were just off the beach and over a very shallow section of the reef. I heard some whistling when I was out looking for the seahorses and looked towards the beach and saw this crowd. I spotted Mike and he pointed out some wingtips breaking the surface way inside of me. I swam in and although the visibility was quite limited because of the waves and shallow water, I did come upon the rays. It was quite a treat to see them in such shallow water. I wasn't game to go in to where they were but they came out into more reasonable depths and I got a few shots:
In the shot above, the female is swimming by me. She probably has 10" of water under her and you can see her wingtips are above the surface.
The male was swiming circles around her and speeding in and out of sight. At one point, it swam under her with little room to spare and to its surprise, I was on the other side of her! It was directly under me with little water below it or between us when it spotted me and jerked in surprise. My real concern was its barbs that were well in striking range of me but it just gave some powerful thrusts with its wings and zipped on and away. I was swimmin parallel with the two when I felt the water get shallow quickly. I knew this meant a wave was coming and sure enough, a breaking wave rolled over us. I got a couple shots of the rays diving beneath the white water and one of them is posted below.
The air bubbles and silt brought the visibility down to only a couple feet and I decided to leave the rays to their call of nature and I went back to the seahorses.