Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Come along for a ride?

Or maybe I should say come along for a swim.

Seahorses to me are magical creatures so on a recent visit to Hawaii I was thrilled for an opportunity to see them up close at the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm.

Ocean Riders Vision Statement:
"To inspire ocean awareness by saving the endangered seahorses from extinction through education and propagation."

"The seahorse has and extraordinary biology with the head of a horse, tail of a monkey, a kangaroo like pouch and a true male pregnancy. The seahorse was once found in all colours and sizes, in coral reefs and sea grass beds all over the world. Today, overfishing from pet and medicine trade, habitat destruction and pollution, has put the seahorse on the edge of extinction."

There is a very interesting guided tour at the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm; here are a few pictures I took and recollections from my visit.
The seahorse farm raises about two dozen species of seahorses. In the wild the survival rate for baby seahorses is 1 in a 1000; at the farm there is about a 50 percent survival rate.

Seahorses mate for life and love to cling to each other and anything else in their environment.

They move around with their tiny dorsal fin, but don't move very fast, they can easily be swept away by currents so they cling for safety.

They eat tiny shrimp, they don't chew them, instead they suck them into their mouth as through a straw.
The top seahorse in the next picture has a prominent pouch, this is a pregnant male seahorse. The female seahorse lays eggs in the pouch and the male fertilizes them, as the babies mature inside the pouch it swells and after about a month in the pouch the babies are squirted out in small batches. The babies are no bigger that the end of my finger, and in nature the babies are left to fend for themselves.

My favorite part of the tour was at the end when we were allowed to "hold" a seahorse, or more precisely the seahorse held onto us.

The seahorse farm also has a pair of Sea Dragons (from GB Reef in Australia).
Since we were not allowed to photograph them here are some images I got off the web:
These are Weedy Sea Dragons

 I hope you have enjoyed my seahorse tale, thanks for dropping by.

I appreciate and thrive on your feedback.

Here is a ink and watercolour sketch I did while I was in Hawaii:
That's all for this week,  
happy Wednesday, with whimsy,