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Thread: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

  1. #31
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    I'm trying to understand what I'm looking at here. It looks like you cracked an egg underwater, but obviously that's not the case.



    Any chance I can also get full-sizers of the following pictures? I really like turtles.



    Last edited by fyrstormer; 08-27-2009 at 11:00 AM.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    If the crab were still alive and in tact, its shell would not have lifted off exposing the yellow and transparent membrane (whatever that is). It would be back down covering that stuff and its top surface would flow into the "tail" section that looks like a lobster tail to the right. That portion, if I am not mistaken folds under the crab and then forward. It is normally tucked up under the crab and I believe this is a female and between its underside and this "tail flap" is where it carries its eggs. Below is another shot of the crab, facing it:



    You can see the inside surface of the "tail" and a zoom in on it:



    Had it been alive,

    A) I doubt I would have been holding it and
    B) It would not be exposing its nether regions like this.

    I found a VIDEO of one of these with a much smaller sponge than any I have seen.
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  3. #33
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Well, since you interrupted it in the middle of making babies the day beforehand, it might have just laid its eggs and kicked-off. Lots of animals do that.

  4. #34

    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    I'm trying to understand what I'm looking at here. It looks like you cracked an egg underwater, but obviously that's not the case.

    I believe the yellow masses you are seeing here are gills.
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Nope, it's crab yolk.


    ... or gills, yeah, that's what they are!

    Don, which legs were the specialized ones for holding the sponge? Assuming the last pair, since on the carcass they are assuming a natural position higher than the other 6 legs. Animals that use other animals w/o harming them, symbiosis, an amazing thing!

  6. #36
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    There are some back legs that clearly have a couple points and perhaps even articulate like pincers. I am sorry I didn't take a closer look at this carcass and more pics of it. As soon as I got home, I realized that I had failed at an opportunity to look more carefully at the sponge retaining gear!

    The best I could do, after the fact, was crop in on one of the images for the detail of these sponge retaining legs:



    You can make out a pair of opposed pincers on two of the legs there. I don't know if the crab has two left and two right rear retainer legs or what. I did some research on the internet but couldn't come up with any insight.

    In the image below of the male who was working at getting his sponge back where he wanted it, it does look like a pair of special sponge legs at the rear on each side. Further, it looks like the pair join together at a final joint that in turn is attached to the body :



    So my best guess is 4 walking legs (2 pair), a pair of claws in the front and a pair of "twin"ed sponge legs aft.

    BTW, my wife said she wanted to keep both the top shell and sponge. I figured the sponge had a poor likelihood of survival given its lack of permanent mooring and had I "stuck" it somewhere, it would have been at the expense of some form of life already present.

    We took the shell and sponge home and I let the sunshine and ants do their thing. I read up a bit on curing sponges and after leaving it to dry out in the sun for a couple days, I put it in a bucket of water. It had turned a dark green, almost black. Once it was in the water and soaked, it turned a purple color the same color as Mr. Head Slap and the water became heavily pigmented this color as well. As this thick and stinky purple stuff vacated the sponge, it became more and more porous looking. It seems that the natural sponge many of us have bought and used is the skeleton of the sponge animal and what is left when the rest of the tissue and matter have decayed and sloughed off. After a few days and squeezing out the water and dead animal matter, what is left is a sponge looking very similar to the store bought natural sponges; same dark yellow/tan color.

    In regards to the symbiosis, there were a whole bunch of scarry looking tiny worm/ centipede looking critters that came out of the sponge along with the purple stuff. I don't know if these critters were in a symbiotic relationship or more like parasites. To my relief and their misfortune, they were all dead.

    One problem I ran into on googling a sponge crab is that apparently the term for a female crab with eggs is also a sponge crab due to its appearance. Well dang it, these are the real deal here! They're true sponge crabs and no doubt proud of it!

    Oh yeah, after watching the antics of the male who came out naked and later dressed in front of a number of us, my wife commented that she could understand where the term crabby came from.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    We took the shell and sponge home and I let the sunshine and ants do their thing. I read up a bit on curing sponges and after leaving it to dry out in the sun for a couple days, I put it in a bucket of water. It had turned a dark green, almost black. Once it was in the water and soaked, it turned a purple color the same color as Mr. Head Slap and the water became heavily pigmented this color as well. As this thick and stinky purple stuff vacated the sponge, it became more and more porous looking. It seems that the natural sponge many of us have bought and used is the skeleton of the sponge animal and what is left when the rest of the tissue and matter have decayed and sloughed off. After a few days and squeezing out the water and dead animal matter, what is left is a sponge looking very similar to the store bought natural sponges; same dark yellow/tan color.
    Yes. It's made of a protein called spongin (scandal!), which is something like a cross between collagen and chitin.

    If you really want to see something freaky, put a live sponge in a blender and then pour the goop into a glass -- it will put itself back together, similar to (though not as humorously as) Spongebob Squarepants. (as annoying as the show is if you're older than 5, the writers did a good job of extrapolating from real life nonetheless.)

  8. #38
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    I don't know if I have mentioned that there is a big barracuda being seen out on the reef or not. I finally saw it close up last week and followed it a ways and took some shots. Today while I was out trying to find the little frog fish (I had already located the larger one), I noticed I was not alone. This big barracuda was about 8' away from me and slowly cruising by. I followed it and came up with a rhythm where I would swim ahead and then slow down as I brought the camera housing up to bear. I could drift in and the barracuda would slowly glide by. It was cool for maybe five minutes until we were joined by a woman who was kicking like crazy to catch up to the barracuda and it upped the pace. I broke off.





    I had been hearing about a really big barracuda an estimates ranged from 4' to 6'. It is really difficult to gauge scale and distance underwater and perhaps there is more than one of these guys but this one here is the same one I have seen before. It's a big fish for certain!! It may only be 4' long but it has presence in the water next to you!!
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    I don't know if I have mentioned that there is a big barracuda being seen out on the reef or not. I finally saw it close up last week and followed it a ways and took some shots. Today while I was out trying to find the little frog fish (I had already located the larger one), I noticed I was not alone. This big barracuda was about 8' away from me and slowly cruising by. I followed it and came up with a rhythm where I would swim ahead and then slow down as I brought the camera housing up to bear. I could drift in and the barracuda would slowly glide by. It was cool for maybe five minutes until we were joined by a woman who was kicking like crazy to catch up to the barracuda and it upped the pace. I broke off.





    I had been hearing about a really big barracuda an estimates ranged from 4' to 6'. It is really difficult to gauge scale and distance underwater and perhaps there is more than one of these guys but this one here is the same one I have seen before. It's a big fish for certain!! It may only be 4' long but it has presence in the water next to you!!
    Hey Don, i've heard from one or two longtime SCUBA guys that Cudas can be pretty dangerous to humans. How did you make sure this guy wouldn't bother you?

  10. #40
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    I too have heard stories of barracudas and concerns of wearing shinny objects. I have also heard of fishermen in small boats having a known barracuda serve as a guide to the fish with a sharing of the catch as motivation.

    Although most of us never see these animals out there, these animals see people on a daily basis if they have elected to swim in a territory populated by swimmers.

    In the case of this barracuda, I know I was not the first swimmer it has encountered and in fact I had already encountered it the other day. If it has call to attack me, why me and why now? I figure if I can be mellow in the water and not show any sign of aggression or fear or submission, my chances of being an exception should be reduced. In both encounters I am aware of with this fish, it was aware of me before I was aware of it. For all I know, there have been other close encounters that I never realized.


    One real consideration I think is that of visibility in the water. The murkier the water, the more cautious and concerned I become. If people were a common and sought food source for sharks or barracuda, we would know it. For the most part, I believe humans being attacked are more the case of mistake, mistaken identity or accident. Sharks in a frenzy for instance will kill their own kind but this is not a common practice or swimming in groups would be rather counterproductive.

    If clearly seen by one of these animals, I don't believe I would be considered food. If I don't present myself as a threat to them, I see no reason for them to attack as a defensive response and I am not sure they even do such a thing. Watching fish, turtles and even land animals, it seems that most have a means of communicating displeasure and that you are violating their space. If it does boil down to fight or flight, in the ocean, most of these creatures have no problem with flight. A territorial animal is a different consideration though, I would imagine.

    I realize I took some chances following this barracuda and I admit I really don't know the nature of the risk involved. If he had been in a group of others his size, I doubt I would have joined them and I would guess quite the contrary!

    EDIT: I would also add that once I was aware of this barracuda and other fish of concern for that matter, I do try to keep my camera housing between me and them. For one obvious reason, a photo opportunity. However I also figure that the housing with dome port is something completely alien to them and not likely considered of interest as a food source. If I am quick enough, it can also be the first thing they encounter should they elect to attack.
    Last edited by McGizmo; 08-29-2009 at 12:35 PM.
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    Flashaholic* bshanahan14rulz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    "oooo! Barracuda!"

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    Flashaholic* Stillphoto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    I love how purpose built barracudas are for speed. Just look at how sleek that guy is! Like a torpedo.
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Mcgizmo,

    Incredible pics! I could only imagine how awesome it would be to dive with all of those dolphins. You really are living a dream life.

    I've swam with Barracudas a few times in Florida, and the first time it was terrifying! Mostly because of their size and reputation. I was told that attacks are very very rare, and usually only happen either because of shiny clothing or because someone tries to feed them.

    Keep the pics coming!

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    The barracuda is an impressive fish!! It was moving without moving and I can only imagine the thrust when it wants to book!!

    Today at the end of a rather uneventful swim, on the way in I came across three eagle rays. Man a bunch of them this season!! One took off after a couple scuba divers joined in the fun but the remaining pair hung around in the shallows and I must have swam with them for over a half hour and took over 200 pics! I did get a chance to shoot them from new angles and their head and mouth and various orifices are difficult to relate to!?!





    Look at the eyes and mouth in the shot below:







    There was a lady with a mask on who was floundering just off the beach and right after I took the shot below, the pair of rays swam right underneath her! She could have been standing up, it was that shallow. I asked her if she saw the rays and she asked me, What? Oi!



    The visibility wasn't that great but these guys came real close and seemed as interested in showing off and being around us as we were them. Really a cool experience!!

    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    The bottom ray in the first picture looks similar to a bat.

    I have seen rays in the water while diving but only from directly above and I have never realized how deep their heads are.


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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    [poke poke poke]

    Not to be too annoying, but I'll ask again: can I get full-size versions of two other pictures of Friendly I quoted at the top of this page?

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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Yeah, I always grew up thinking they were flat pretty much all the way. They look kind of like some kind of batbirdpig, imo

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Stingray's I have seen and caught in CA do have some thickness at their head but they don't have the same configuration as these eagle rays. I suspect their mouths can drop down from the plane of their undersides but they don't look anything like these guys. These guys have this bill below their eyes and protruding forward that can change shape significantly and although one might consider it in the mouth area or even hosting the mouth when you observe them from above, it seems to be more like a nose. There are two holes that can be opened up and articulated under this bill and I guess they may be used for sensing or sampling the water for prey?!?

    I have seen one from above and in profile in such a manner that I thought I understood where the name eagle ray came from but the more I watch them, I agree that bat or pig ray seems more appropriate. Watching them snout through the sand really seems like a pig behavior?!?

    fyrstormer,
    I guess I missed your further request. I need to go back and find it and see if I can oblige.
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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    fyrstormer,
    Sorry but I didn't start trying to keep high resolution images of these pics until about a year ago and I still don't keep comprehensive coverage. Too many!!
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Darn. Oh well, you'll just have to take some more pictures of Friendly now that you've found her again. Keep me posted.







  21. #51
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    There were many times that I stopped my car on the way to school to pick up a turtle trying to cross the road, and I always brought them down the hill to the woods behind the house I grew up in. There was one time when I picked up the turtle and it didn't pull back into its shell, and after a few seconds after I set it down on the seat it stood up and stared at me the whole way back to the house, which was kind of odd. I went into the woods a couple of days later and found the same turtle paired up with another turtle, facing opposite directions, with their heads resting on each other's shells. And I'd always thought reptiles had no sense of physical affection like mammals do. It was pretty cool.

    I like turtles. Their slowness compared to other reptiles makes them need to be much more observant and thoughtful, I think.

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    The conditions have continued to be nice on the reef and I have been visiting it daily. The larger frogfish had gone AWOL for a week or two but a friend noticed it quite a ways from where I had last seen it and now for the last three days, I have visited with it as well as the smaller one that has remained on the same coral outcropping for over a week. It's nice when they stick around close by!

    The big guy has grown as has the little one. Big guy:


    Frog tail in sunlight:





    Today, I joined a friend, Bob, out there and we took some shots of the frog and got it to give us some "action" shots like the one above and below with Bob in the shot as well.



    We left the frog fish and swam out where I have been seeing Friendly and the large female green with the propeller scars. Today, we found Friendly down there scrubbing her shell against the ledge of the coral outcropping:



    She rotated a couple full circles getting all of her shell cleaned up from the coral and then she came up to the surface.



    I got some nice shots of her and Bob and I would guess he got some shots of Friendly and me. She remained on the surface for a good number of breaths and was completely indifferent to us.





    For the first time it seems in months, the wind lightened up for a while and the surface got reasonably smooth. Cool for reflections at the surface.

    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Don, is she the only one who cleans her shell, I mean have you seen other turtles cleaning theirs ?


  24. #54
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    London Lad,
    I have seen some other turtles shifting back and forth under a ledge and figured one reason might be to scrape their carapace but this session that I observed of Friendly is the first time I have seen a turtle work its whole shell. My friend Bob had told me beforehand that he has seen and photographed a Hawksbill out at the same spot over a week ago and it too had been doing a shell scrub and he watched it rotate around and get both sides.

    There are fish cleaning stations where usually a pair of Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasses will stake out and take on any fish or animal that comes in for a cleaning. I believe they target tiny parasites. I have seen them go at a turtle that comes by. Below is a shot of one working the underside of a Hawksbill that happened to be feeding in the wrasse's jurisdiction:



    I have also visited a couple turtle cleaning stations where turtles will come to be attended to by any number of fish; often a school of convict tangs. I have yet to get a good shot of this because the visibility has not been good and the tangs split before I can get close enough. You can see some of the fish who hadn't vacated yet in the image below:



    It's a terrible example because before spooked away, the turtle has a full cover of fish all over its shell! I don't know if the fish go for the algae or just parasites on the turtles. I also don't know if the turtles are sensitive to tiny critters and organisms hitching a ride on their shell or not. I don't know if they feel "itches" that need to be scratched or not. If you watch fish getting cleaned by the cleaner wrasses, it looks like they are enjoying the procedure based on their bright colors, open drooling mouths and 600 yard stares. Perhaps I am anthropomorphizing here a bit but if you ever see a fish getting cleaned, you will understand where I am coming from!

    Back to the turtles, I found some shots of Hawksbill turtles in other parts of the world and their shells were beautiful and clear of any algae. Our reefs are significantly impacted by algae over here and much of the coral has been taken over. This is attributed to runoff from golfcourses, general landscaping and storm drains and injection wells which pump nutrient rich, treated water into the ground, well below sea level. My suspicion is that the sea turtles here have a greater issue with algae and perhaps other shell infestations because of an altered habitat.

    I have seen turtles embrace other turtles and climb over each other and figure it is something beyond a sex based encounter; especially when it is a pair of females doing this. Perhaps they both benefit from rubbing against each other.

    I have often been tempted to go out there with a 3M scrub pad and see if a turtle would be game for an algae cleaning. The laws against turtle harassing though don't make this a good idea let alone my lack of understanding. I know from a number of years cleaning sail boat bottoms for racers that an algae film can create significant drag and these turtles would be swifter in the water, without the growth. If nothing else, they look so much better and are more photogenic when all clean and scrubbed up! I suspect Friendly knows how pretty she is and takes pride in her appearance!

    There is a constant battle for real estate and surfaces in the ocean and the shells of these turtles are no doubt exempt from exploitation of would be squatters.

    I would be willing to bet that if someone was to fabricate a framework that was host to a series of stiff brushes that in time some turtles would avail themselves of such a self serve scrubbing station! For all I know this turtle in the image below was hanging around and rubbing against my wave ski mooring line with the intent of some scrub work.



    As I understand it, appearance is a significant consideration in many animal species when it come to selecting a mate and I have read where sea turtles can recognize each other based on their unique patterns in the scutes (scales) and such. If they are covered in growth. that might not be so cool. The female below has algae covering most of her shell and recognition might be difficult:

    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Flashaholic* London Lad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    I remember you saying when you first found Friendly that she was particularly clean and you thought someone may have been cleaning her shell.

    Its interesting that some turtles seem to do this more than others and some not at all judging from the photos! Just like people I guess.


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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    I doubt a quick wipe with a Scotch-Brite pad would elicit any complaints from...cough...Hawaii 5-0......I'd be interested to see if you did it once, if Friendly quickly started expecting it in the future.

    I doubt a scrubbing station would be very useful, though; being stationary, it would accumulate funk pretty quickly, and it would also become a target for predators.

  27. #57
    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    ...

    I doubt a scrubbing station would be very useful, though; being stationary, it would accumulate funk pretty quickly, and it would also become a target for predators.
    You could be right but the coral presently used is stationary, teaming with life where ever space is available and perhaps not as effective on cleaning a shell as a stiff brush might be. I don't doubt it would foul to some extent but if in use, it might remain reasonably viable. There are currently any number of cleaning stations that have been in use for numbers of years and to some extent, I suspect the tiger sharks are aware of these places. Certainly a decision in placement of a station would take this into consideration.

    My friend Bob sent me a few shots he took of me with the frog fish and Friendly:



    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Fair point about the coral, I guess; I didn't realize there were specific spots that are used as cleaning stations, as opposed to any convenient batch of coral that happens to be nearby.

    I think the trick with a brush would be to make it out of something that nothing wants to grow on. Perhaps a block of, I dunno, anodized titanium or something.

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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Since my last post here, I have seen a couple other turtles using the same coral head for a back scratch. The eagle rays are out there every day now. I don't see them myself every day but hear from other on the beach about their encounters. Today, I had checked in on the frog and was out past the reef cruising with a pair of eagle rays when a friend, Mike (the guy above in scuba with the rays) swam out and joined me. He had told me that last year, this time, he encountered a couple sea horses off the beach he usually takes clients out from. It's about a mile north of my normal haunt. He also saw one sea horse about a month ago there. I went out a couple times in bad vis hoping to come across one but no luck. They are in shallow water just off the beach and any swell or surf stirs up the sand and silt. Anyway, he saw one today on his morning dive!! He asked if I wanted to go up there and try to find one. In a heart beat!!

    It was starting to look iffy when he swam over to me and said he had found one.







    He is always taking pics of his clients and this time, he was on the other side of the camera.

    At one point, a second and larger sea horse joined in! I think it might be pregnant. It is on Mike's hand in the image below.



    Look at its belly in the shot below:



    I once read that although there are some sea horses to be found in Hawaii, it is very unlikely to ever see one. Well cool!!

    After spending time with the sea horses, we headed in and Mike found a small Tako right at the shore line. He used my probe to coax it out and it was fun to watch change colors and shapes.

    There is something about sapphire and titanium that just feels right. Keeps the trouble out side where it belongs.

    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  30. #60
    Flashaholic* maxspeeds's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    Oahu, Hawaii
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    Default Re: Maui time (Pictures) - 3

    Don,

    Very cool shots of the seahorses! I've only seen them in person at the Waikiki Aquarium. I would love to experience them hanging out in shallow waters.

    I can't believe that baby tako felt safe enough to hong out on your wrist . What an awesome shot! Takos are very smart creatures. I recall seeing videos on youtube of them being able to open bottles inorder to get to a crab. As much as I love to eat them, I wouldn't mind having one as a pet

    Joel
    Cheers from the McGizmo state.

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