10-23-09

There is still some surf with associated surge but I went to visit the seahorses again anyway. The male was right where I anticipated him to be.

It was clear with the surge that I wasn't going to get any shots better than I already have so I left him and looked for the female which I expected would be near by and she was. I dove down for a photo and she immediately started to take off. I stopped her flight and went for a couple pics.

I took her back to the sea floor and oriented myself so that the male was out in front of both of us. As she headed away from me, she approached him as I had hoped she would do.

An incoming wave actually swept her back towards me and she caught an algae plant with her tail to stop her travel:

With an outgoing surge, she again took off.

She didn't go far before snagging onto an algae plant. The two of them seemed likely to stay put given the surge so I decided to expand my search and see if I could find another seahorse. It has been my impression that there are at least two females as I encountered one that seemed much larger than this little one that I usually find. I went further out and in a couple minutes I spotted a male swimming down on the deck. I couldn't believe he had left his hold fast and come out in this area. I dove down and took a shot:

Now this guy didn't look nearly as fat as he had minutes earlier and I suspected that this was in fact a second male. Since he was on the move, I didn't feel bad about herding him back to the area I had left the pair in not so long ago. Sure enough, the other male was still hanging on to the same hold fast as he had been all this time. I brought this second one in for a "proof" shot of the pair:

I got a number of out of focus shots in the next couple minutes because I couldn't put the housing up to my face and also herd or keep track of the seahorses.

The second male passed by the big guy and I went down in front of it to coax it back to him. With the strong surge, at one point, he grabbed on to the same plant and I was able to get a shot:

I got pulled out by a surge and looking back, I saw that the same surge had disloged the pair from the algae and they were still intertwined with their tails and getting swept along the sand towards me. I dove back for a couple quick, but not great shots:

The two males disengaged and both headed out and in the direction of the female. I saw a chance at perhaps getting all three in a pic and as the two males swam past her, I put my hand out ahead and diverted them towards here. Of course my presense also had her let go and start to take off. I did manage one shot of the three though! After this shot, a good size swell lifted the sand off the bottom and with the three all headed in different directions, I called it a day.

I have suspected that there are three seahorses out there but I thought it was two females and one male although he would vary in belly buldge from day to day . Now I know why the discrepency in his size because there are two of him. Now I wonder if there aren't four seahorses out there and would it be possible to see two females at the same time.....


I came back the next day to check on the horses and the surge was still strong enough to keep me from spending too much time at trying to improve my lot of photos of them. I didn't bother the male at all but when the female took off, I did impede her escape and brought her to the surface for a few moments before returning her to her turf:

The sun is bright at the surface and there are harsh shadows. The seahorses do seem to go from green to redish/brown when they leave the sea floor and it is really difficult to orient them and the camera, relative to the sunlight for a decently lit image. Buoyancy issues at the surface also preclude allowing me to look through the view finder and center the subject for focus. My hope is to sometime get a shot similar to the first in this series but with the whole fish in the frame and ideally not a hand in the background. Being masters at keeping their back to you , the seahorses are less than helpful!!


The next day, I stopped by for a quick visit and found the lesser pregnant (?) male swimming over the sea bed.

Although seemingly barren, there are other critters among the algae. I watched a snowflake eel swimming among the clumps and at one point when it stuck its head into an algae grouping, out popped a green lion fish:

The seahorses seem to prefer less dense areas on the seabed and likely isloated hold fasts where they are not apt to be hit with other pieces of algae in the surge as well as no place for other critters to hide.