We made the big 20 minute flight to the Big Island for a week of visiting friends and scuba diving.
Yesterday they had a full boat so we took the day off and went to the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm. As we drove to it (it was easy to miss!) I was amazed by all the ocean technology businesses happening there! The farm raises seahorses for sale to the aquarium trade. As a ecologist and environmentalist, I usually advise people against setting up a salt water aquarium. For one it is not ‘just an aquarium’; it a big cost and time commitment. Many fish you buy die quickly despite the hundreds of dollars you paid for them! Beautiful fish are nearly depleted from many reefs because of the aquarium trade that collects them and sell them. I cringe when I remember seeing the pails of yellow tangs being pulled up! There are more and more fish breeders being successful in breeding fish and other unique underwater species like seahorses. Unfortunately they still have not succeeded in breeding yellow tangs in captivity.
It was interesting to hear how they breed the seahorses and gradually move them from a diet of raw shrimp to a diet of frozen shrimp which is much easier for most aquarium owners to handle. I thought it was cute that the first seahorse to ever eat this non-living food was nick-named “Mikey” from the Life cereal commercials. They kept moving him from tank to tank so that he convinced the other seahorses to eat! The seahorses have lived up to 8 years in a tank compared to estimated 3 year life in the ocean. By breeding them for use in aquariums, they quit the depletion of the reefs and create an animal that survives better in an aquarium.
Today we went out diving. I must not have had enough coffee this morning because I forgot my camera in the condo; so I went to flickr and found other peoples pics.
It was a day of pairs. There was a pair of BEAUTIFUL teenage rockmover wrasse playing on the reef together. They are so ugly as adults but beautiful as babies and teenagers! Then I found a pair of yellowmargin moray eels that were cavorting in their hole. And then there was the pair of blue dragon nudibranches that looked like they were creating new nudies! These are quiet rare and had never been seen in this area. All in all a good day but not too exciting. I did see a couple of my favorites including flame angel, belted wrasse and juvenile shortnosed wrasse.
Can’t wait until tomorrow…