Diving today was such a treat. Ever since I started diving in earnest (June 2011), I’d been wanting to see a pygmy seahorse for myself. Old-timers keep talking about it, about how rare it is and how fascinating. At long last, after four months, I did! And there were two of them in one sea fan!
It was our second dive of the day, after we’d finally cleared much of the ghost net at San Juan Reef in the morning, and we dove Angel’s Cove. I buddied up with a British dive master, Andy, who recently arrived in Davao for a look-see. It was Andy who spotted the critters, at a depth of about 80 feet (25 meters). They were so tiny! I’d say they were each less than a centimeter long. The two pygmies were on a moderate-sized gorgonian sea fan, the one with deep-orange branches and white polyps. The seahorses were pinkish in color. ( They were Denise’s pygmy seahorse, Hippocampus denise.)
Earlier, I had another first, and it was also Andy’s find. At a relatively shallow depth, we observed an ornate ghost pipefish trying — almost successfully — to camouflage itself in a black feather star. There was a bit of a current, so the poor thing was doing its darnedest best to keep its position as one of the star’s supposed arms. It was truly fascinating to watch.
Another critter I love watching made several appearances at Angel’s Cove today: the ringed pipefish, which has a colorful fan-like tail. They like hanging out inside caves or crevices. Andy and I saw quite a few of them this afternoon.
The ringed pipefish don’t seem to be afraid of divers. One time, I drew really close to one of them and it didn’t even move away. Or maybe it was the rather strong current that made the poor thing struggle to stay put…
Another find today were two mature frogfish, spotted by the Carabao divers. The pair were on top of tube coral, at about 50 feet, somewhere between Angel’s Cove and Mansud Wall. According to East, one of the frogfish appeared to be pregnant!
The video above was taken during a check-out dive for a group of students from Zamboanga. They were lucky to have seen a couple of frogfish at the very beginning of their scuba experience! I’m a bit jealous, I must admit.
All in all, today’s dives were probably the best yet for me — a clean-up dive to kick off the day, and a rewarding fun dive to wrap the day up nicely.