We've been really busy diving the last month or so. Diving conditions have been good, we've had some big winds, and finally a couple days of rain (thank goodness, we've been having a drought and the local green was turning brown) but those don't generally effect the scuba diving here.
So we're diving outside of the harbor and one of the divers came up from the dive and starts talking seahorses, apparently he'd taken a photo of a seahorse on the mooring line. He showed me a pic, it was blurry but it was definitely a seahorse. I was bummed because I was up top captaining and I didn't have a housing for my camera handy that day. When the next diver came up, he mentioned the seahorse was RUBBER. The diver with the camera was so intent on the back of his camera LCD that he didn't notice the algae covered tie wrap holding it on, and the wind was up that day and shaking the boat so the mooring line was bouncing around and the seahorse did look like it was moving. When Bob surfaced, I mentioned the divers saw a seahorse on the mooring line... well he was all over that and descended immediately - came back up smiling and saying "that would be the rare Hawaiian rubber seahorse".
One of the other dive groups had obviously mounted it down there. Apparently there's a rubber snake on the other side of the chain as well. We do see seahorses here from time to time... mostly at the boat washdown... The Big Island doesn't really have any readily findable reef seahorses, we have a deep water/open ocean species that the fishermen see at night when they hang lights. Occasionally they'll clean a mahi-mahi and one will fall out of the entrails, that's how we see the most of them. Apparently Hawaii does have a reef species or two that can be found on rare occasions on the older islands, and I heard of a sighting on the reef up in Puako this last year, but seahorses are not one of the things we expect to see here at all.
Here's a shot of a couple of Moorish Idols (Zanclus cornutus) on the reef that Pat took. These attractive fish are always a pleasure to see, and we see them quite often. Most people will say they saw an "angelfish", the true angelfish species we have look nothing like a freshwater angelfish you'd see in an aquarium. The Moorish Idols are in their own family, sharing many of the traits of our butterflyfish and surgeonfish.