Dancing with Seahorses

by Natalie Novak Perez (Nov./Dec. 2012)
photos by Ivan Perez

Seahorses are rare in Akumal. They are often the size of a needle and are great at camouflage. Finding a seahorse on a dive is a lot like finding a needle in a haystack. So when I do find one, I do a little underwater dance. And when I find one and Ivan is there with a camera from Blue Photo Akumal, I think I perform an underwater ballet!

When I found this little guy, I was taking a mother and son on their second dive ever. We took our time descending into the blue together. We were circled by a school of small, silver tuna. We watched a stingray feed. And we swam over the sand together to practice moving with the current.

Just as Ivan was taking a picture of a Red Banded Shrimp, I saw him—this tiny seahorse about 8 feet away. I brought my divers over and sat them in the sand so they could get a good, close look at this amazing little guy. Then I did my dance. This made them smile, and though they were happy and comfortable, I think they did not understand why I was dancing. Not until I explained that a seahorse is something we find once every 1,000 dives, so it is definitely something to celebrate.

This is my second seahorse this year, and he was much smaller then the first. I found him a few days before Thanksgiving, and my dance of joy is one of the ways I like to give thanks.

We stopped and took a lot of pictures. And then we were off, gliding with the current, watching turtles glide down from above to find a spot on the reef to be cleaned. We had an amazing dive. It was just a beautiful day on the ocean.

Dive with Natalie & Ivan