Awesone monster of the deep on your wrist there!
Did it hurt? Did it bite?
Awesone monster of the deep on your wrist there!
Did it hurt? Did it bite?
There is a type of perfection that transcends the quest for lumens. Buying a $250 1-cell light for "lum factor" is like buying a $250 single malt Scotch for the alcohol content.
It's always darkest just before it goes pitch black.
My shoes are too tight. But it doesn't matter, because I have forgotten how to dance.
I never expected to get to see a sea horse as I had heard that they are usually in deep water and very uncommon. I did a google on them and found the following quote on a few web pages:
Like the frogfish, these animals depend on not being seen for survival. As a result, there may be some around and never noticed by those of us swimming by. Amazing critters with the male having an unusual role! The eggs are deposited in his pouch where they are internally fertilized and then he swims around carrying them until time to release the tiny next generation out on their own! I strongly suspect that we came across a pair yesterday and the big and fat one is a male with a pouch full of young ones in process.Today the seahorse is facing extinction from over fishing for the pet and medicine trade, and habitat destruction from global warming and development. The wild seahorse is so rare today that it is rarely seen by anyone. The seahorse is now an endangered species protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
Regarding the tako (octopus), I have watched any number of divers get a hold of one after prodding it out of its hole. If you keep it from getting away and let it shoot out some ink if it is so inclined, at one point, it accepts the temporary captivity and if you have taken it up and away from the reef, it is more inclined to hang on to you than attempt to swim away. Mike had gone through the ritual with the one on my hand. He finally got it to drop off of his hand and I photographed it "parachuting" down to the sea floor.
When it landed on the bottom, I dove down (dove is a misnomer since it was in about 3.5' of water) and picked it up and brought it back to the surface. It stayed willingly on my hand until I swam down and put my hand near the reef where it spotted a place to escape to. I once saw a group of divers leaving the ocean and one of them had some serious hickeys on his cheeks and neck. It seems the dive master had caught a good sized tako and it ended up on this guys face mask and face and neck and wasn't interested in letting go!
Cheers from the McGizmo state.
They do have a beak but I haven't heard of anyone ever getting bitten by one. I suppose it could happen. Their suction cups can be felt and it is an interesting sensation. They are strong for their size and the larger ones have a good grip!!
I couldn't resist going out again today to see if I could find a sea horse on my own and spend some more time watching them. I ended up finding both of them again. In a way, they look like a fantasy horse traveling though an alien desert landscape.
they have to hang on with their tails during the frequent sand storms.
They really are the strangest damn fish ever. What do they eat with that little straw of a mouth, anyway?
I recall reading somewhere that they can suck in shrimp or other little critters, including small fish up to some multiple of the diameter of their snout. As a food source or prey, themselves, as juveniles and adults, they are covered with bony plates and apparently not desired as food for most predators. They do not feel soft to the touch. Their tail feels more like a crab shell than any fleshy or soft tissue. I want to see if I can find one again and maybe get some short video on it. Watching them swim, turn and drag their tail is fascinating. I believe they only have the one small dorsal fin as a means of propulsion and yet they can maneuver quite well.
Yeah, I was just reading about them on Wikipedia. It seems they are highly-modified pipefish, they use their dorsal fin for swimming and their side fins (up on the sides of their head) for attitude control. They are highly maneuverable due to their posture but are incapable of swimming fast because of the drag from their profile.
A fish that swims standing up. Gotta love it.
I love how their body profile so closely resembles dragons and other mythical creatures. As they swim in water, it almost gives the illusion as if they are flying
Cheers from the McGizmo state.
They look like mummies! And I do remember reading that seahorses were used in medicine for some rare chemical that they produce or something... Dag, can't remember what it was for, I think it ws something trivial, like fertility or something.
Their incubation pouches produce prolactin, the hormone that instigates milk production. Probably useful for young mothers who are not...*ahem*...adequately equipped as they approach full-term.
Interestingly, seahorses don't make milk at all, but the hormone is nonetheless somehow useful to them. No doubt it originally served some other purpose, but since humans first discovered the hormone in their own species, they assigned it a name reflecting its function in that context.
(no, I don't know why I talk about humans in the third-person sometimes.)
From what I gathered on some quick searches, the wild sea horses are endangered but there are some farms breeding them in tanks and I found one place online that is on the big island of Hawaii. Interesting that they can't see the seahorses to anyone in the state of Hawaii for fear that they might be introduced into the wild. It would be great if the medical and pet industries could be served by seahorse farms or should they be called ranches? Whether natural populations can regain their numbers is probably up to the people who harvest them, the present conditions of the natural habitats (which are in flux) and of course the seahorses, their prey and their predators.
If you get down to eye level with these guys and watch them move about, it is really fascinating!! Some of you older folks probably remember having a broom stick horse to ride as a kid. The seahorse looks like one of these horses come to life and you can watch them move about, riderless.
I would enjoy an animated feature with a small juvenile frog fish mounted on his friend and steed, a seahorse and their adventures avoiding the giant Eels and octopus as well as those giant predators that can swoop down from the liquid sky above!
I went out yesterday AM with the Olympus in hopes of some short videos but failed to find one. I am going to try again this AM. I suspect that these guys being in the shallows is probably a seasonal thing and may have to do with mating or birthing. If that is the case, the window of opportunity is closing. We are also headed towards winter swells that spell disaster to the shallows in this area; constant waves ripping down to the bottom and tossing everything not well anchored as well as sand blasting anything present.
Pitch it to Pixar, Don. They can call it "Finding Ahab" or something.
Don, would you mind saying a few words about the type of mask and breather you use? Brand, model would be helpful. Do you have a specific preference, did you go through a lot before you found a good set?
I'll be going to Hawaii sometime in December, where exactly in Maui do you find the turtles?
Maui is HUGE!
EDIT: the plan was scrubbed
Last edited by Illum; 01-01-2010 at 11:13 PM.
The mask I am using now is not the best fitting or lowest profile mask I have but it has "reader" lenses glued at the bottom of the flat lenses and allows me to see stuff close up like the camera settings.
There are turtles everywhere. The key is to base where you go on the conditions at the time. In December, there should be some Humpbacks here too so I would recommend you consider a combo whale watch/ snorkel sail, or cruise. The surf and wind conditions will have a strong bearing on where the best places to go to see the sealife. I could take you to a place just south of Napili point where I guarantee you would see turtles. However the conditions might be terrible and the visibility very poor.
Back to the seahorses, I went out this AM with the hope of getting some video but in an hour and a half of looking, I found no seahorse. I went out again this afternoon hoping to find one and my friend Robert was to meet me out there. I found the female and Robert showed up in time to swim with her too. The vis was pretty bunk and there was quite a bit of swell surge. None the less, I did get a few short videos and combined a couple in a YouTube upload, you can see, HERE.
I pulled a frame from the video which is shown below. I was tracking the seahorse with the olympus and as it swam right at my face, I ended up with the camera catching me as well as the seahorse. You can see the "reader lenses" laminated to the flat lenses in the bottom of the section of each lens. It's a clunky mask but it's all about seeing!
Regarding your Luminox watch, I could have sworn that the black paint highlighting the numbers had worn off your bezel. Did you repaint the numbers?
I'm curious because I have the same watch and the paint has been long gone.
My first Luminox showed up with a foggy window one day, many months ago and perhaps even last year. I immediately purchased another and then kept the old one on my wrist until it died. To the design's credit, even though there was moisture in the watch, it lasted weeks before finally ceasing to function. I'm now on my second one.
It's been almost a month from when I first got to visit the seahorses. Since then, I have spent hours out with them and taken way too many pics but I can't seem to get enough of them!
I won't overwhelm (hopefully) this thread with too many more pics of them but I do want to share a few more that I find interesting...
another self portrait:
In the shot below, the male is in the foreground and female out behind him and headed off.
Closer view of her:
The male has looked pregnant and ready to pop now for weeks but I understand they can balloon out their pouch perhaps as a means of convincing the females of their "worthiness". I know it is not realistic but I would love to visit one day and see tiny ones cruising around!! With the waves we have been having and winter swells starting to come in, the "sand storm" where these guys reside is just going to get worse and I can't imagine they could even survive in the shallows should a real swell arrive with big surf!?!?
The big boy:
Whales have now been seen and a pod cruised down close to shore a couple days ago.
This entire thread is tremendously enjoyable!
Those final seahorse shots pointing into the sky gave me the chills.
Awesome thread Don! Thanks for taking the time.
I'm tuned in to this one now.
More amazing pictures, Don. The ones of the seahorse wrapped around your finger are just phenomenal. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I'm dying to get back to Hawaii.
It's just so hard to move across the country from our families...especially with a 5 month old.
Fantastic shots as always .
I loved the way the one Seahorse wrapped it's tail around your finger.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful under sea world with us.
Last edited by Barefootone; 10-23-2009 at 05:37 AM. Reason: correction
~ I've lived to see another sunrise ~
~ Kicked cancer's ass 3 times~
I visited them again yesterday and am headed back again in a few minutes. There has been waves and the surge causes a sandstorm at the ocean floor which makes it difficult to get a good shot. Yesterday was not ideal by any stretch but I found the male and then female and left them secured to their hold fasts while I went of thinking I might find a second female. I don't know for a fact that there are two but it seems that I have seen two based on perceived size discrepencies. For that matter, the male would look super pregnant one day and as if it had had its fry on another day and then again pregnant?!?
Well I hadn't swam far or left the pair for long when I found the male swimming near me!?! He also didn't look as fat so I figured he might not be who I thought he was. I ushered him bacl to where I thought I had left him and sure enough, "he" was still in place. That is to say, I was now looking at two males in real time. Duh! I ended up with the two males together for a moment and then they took off in the direction of where the female was hanging. I was able to divert the males towards the female and get one shot with all three present and accounted for:
Crappy shot but proof, none the less.
Fantastic shots, Don!
I love checking this thread at least once a week. Don's shots are so clear and great that I can imagine being in the ocean alongside these great creatures.
Cheers from the McGizmo state.
Don must be awesome to find all those sea creatures in your back yard.I look forward in seeing your friends out in the open with no bounderies.I find myself above water most of the time sitting on my surfboard.Maybe it's time i head under.Mahalo Bro,for those spectacular shots.See u in the line up.
You guys shouldn't encourage me so!
Here's a couple shots of the female I took yesterday.
To take these. I am just holding the camera hopefully with the seahorse in the frame. I can't peer through the view finder for a number of reasons. The shot below might have been my best yet for detail but most of the frame was just blue water with part of my hand and part of her in the left half of the frame. Good think it is easy to crop!
I understand these seahorses can move their eyes independently like the Jackson Chameleons do.
What type of camera/lens are you using?
What part of Maui?
My wife & I have a captive coral farm in socal and love getting to snorkel the wild reefs. The last expedition was Fiji in 2006, we did Matamanoa and the Mamanucas
My parents love Maui so I have been quite a few times, they just got back from a month at the Kea Lani
I live on the west side out past Lahaina, just north of Kaanapali. I won't give exact location of the seahorses because there are aquarium collectors out there that make their livings by "relocating" critters of interest. There are a number of people who know about these seahorses now and I can only hope that the information doesn't get to someone who would like to remove them for financial gain or other reason!! Anybody could easily catch them!!
The (non pregnant?) male from yesterday's visit:
Hard to catch? Not! Hopefully where it will remain as long as it chooses to: