by Natalie Novak (Feb. 2012)
I remember three books my parents would read to me as bedtime stories. One was about being kidnapped by goblins, the second was about a flying chair with wings, and the third was about the life cycle of the seahorse. When I was a little older I discovered that goblins and flying chairs were the kind of make-believe stories that one reads to little kids, and somehow that led me to believe that seahorses were some kind of made-up creature.
Growing up in the Niagara region of Canada, the opportunity to discover that seahorses are real just did not come up. So it was not until I was living in Belize and becoming a diver, that I found out seahorses are real.
I was 14 and I thought my parents and the guys at the dive center were trying to pull a fast one on "the kid" when they told me I might see a seahorse. I thought, "Yeah, we will find it right next to the kraken [sea monster], eh?" (Yes, I think in cAnAdiAn, eh.)
Seahorses are small and hard to find, so finding them is a rare treat. Though I (now) know they are real, they still hold magic for me. When I found one in 55 feet of water this January, I was really excited. I found this little guy at the end of a multilevel computer dive starting at 90 feet and ending at 40 feet. He was (literally) hanging out on a plant in 55 feet of water on a sandbar. He was big for a seahorse, about 4 inches long.
When I got back to shore, I had a new group of divers for my second dive. They were old friends and when I told them what I found, they were very excited to try and find this little guy again with a camera in hand. By the time we departed the current had changed. Although I had taken mental note of landmarks above and below water (or would they be called seamarks underwater?), finding a seahorse in the ocean is very much like finding a needle in a haystack, even when you have an idea of where to look. It took a little while, but I found my seahorse again on a different plant and we took some great shots! After thousands of dives, these are the first pictures of a seahorse I have ever taken. Enjoy!
If you want to look for seahorses with me, contact Dive with Natalie & Ivan. Book us online, because we spend our time underwater.