Returning from the Dive

Seahorse Research Trip

The seahorses that I have etched have all come from drawings made of seahorses in captivity, in aquariums.  I was given the opportunity through ZSL way back in September 2005 to join a seahorse research trip in Portugal with Project Seahorse.

I spent a few days at the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. The water was wonderfully warm, a real treat to dive in just a wetsuit rather than a drysuit with heaps of weights!

As soon as I dropped into the water, I was surrounded by seahorses…

As soon as I dropped into the water, I was surrounded by seahorses, Hippocampus guttulatus. My first dive lasted nearly an hour, and it was incredible too, at last, to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. The project was looking for seahorses which had been tagged the year before, to gently pick up a seahorse to inspect the tag and for it to wrap it’s tail around my finger was wonderful.

We also dived in the Rio Arade estuary, Ferragudo, Portimao. The visibility was poor, very silty- but again we were lucky to find several seahorses.

The Ria Formosa park is lovely, we stayed in a lodge inside the park, at night it was totally dark with beautiful stars and the smell of pine trees.

It was a truly magical experience, and I am so grateful to ZSL and Project Seahorse for arranging it.

Although I have seen pipefish in Plymouth Sound I am still hoping one day to find some seahorses there.

Here are some photos of the trip and my first few attempts at underwater photography!


One response

  1. Hi Debbie, I’ve loved reading your latest news letter, especially about seahorses, one of my VERY favourite things along with shells and fireflies! We saw seahorses in NE Corfu when we lived on our catamaran there for over 9 years. Once we found one with its tail curled around a link on the anchor chain as we pulled it up. I carefully lifted it off and put it in a bucket of sea water so I could have a close look and photograph it. As I tipped it back into the sea it completely uncurled itself and dived down into the weed as straight as a pencil and as fast as an arrow! Huge congratulations on all your projects and a wonderful website. I have 2 new titles of The Manor House Stories out this year, another 6 to go to complete the series of 13. There will be another 2 going to print in January. I have almost finished a story about a mermaid and her pet seahorse which I intend to publish at some point. Within the storyline it will flag up the dangers from plastics in the oceans & I will choose a marine charity to benefit from it, (all my other books support a children’s or animal charity) preferably a seahorse one! Any thoughts?? I wish I could come to Mt. Edgecumbe to see you but I’m doing the Padstow Christmas Festival, we live nearby so it is a fun event with not much travelling. Have a magical Christmas & a superb 2019, with love, Jani xxx

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