Solitary male when not mating...
The Andaman see is home to many cephalopods such as octopus, squid and cuttlefish... If you come dive with us it's pretty much a guaranteed sighting!
Big reef octopus, (Octopus cyanea) a diurne specie with an amazing camouflage ability.
Theses 2 pictures were taken only few seconds apart. The Octopus can change not only it's color but also it's skin texture in the blink of an eye!
During the mating season you can have a chance to see more than one at a time, otherwise it's a rather solitary specie.
Mating season for cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis) is from November to January, and it's very frequent to witness some kinky business while diving :)
Often seen in pairs, they are actually 3 or even 4 when mating...
While their best way to defend themselves is to blend in, they can also spray a cloud of ink to surprise it's predator and escape...
Solitary male when not mating...
The pygmy squid, (Idiosepius paradoxus) hard to see due to its micro size (about 5mm) lives on coral reef and are to be seen at night, hanging on corals or floating away with the current.
The pelagic kind of squid , hanging in mid water. They can team up in order to hunt cooperatively, using active communication!
Always in group from small to big schools, they are an easy catch for the local fishermen, still using the lamparo that attract them close to the surface...
Coral reefs only add to the incredible natural beauty that exists beneath the water.
They are fascinating ecosystems important to all life on earth !
And guess what … coral are not plants, they’re actually animals !
Have a look on this nice video:
Do you know how coral reefs grow ?
It is as simple as that : free-swimming coral larvae go for a ride … they find a nice spot to settle down, attach themselves to a hard surface ; and there begins the process of forming coral reefs.
Then, a coral polyp secrete a skeleton from the underside of its skin. It divides itself in half and making exact genetic copies of itself. As more and more polyps are added, a coral colony develops. Eventually the coral colony becomes mature, begins reproducing, and the cycle of life continues !
How fast does it grow ?
Different species = different rates !
It depends on water temperature, salinity, turbulence, and the availibility of food.
Massive corals are the slowest, between 5 and 25mm per year.
Staghorn corals can add 20 cms to their branches each year.
What’s the best spot for them ?
They grow best in warm waters (21-29°) and need salt water to survive. They prefer clear and shallow water, where lots of sunlight filters through to their symbiotic algae, which gives them all the energy they need to grow their skeleton.
How old can they be ?
The geological record indicates that ancestors of modern coral reef ecosystems were formed at least 240 millions years ago !
Most established coral reefs are between 5 000 and 10 000 years old.
What's the largest one?
The world’s largest one is the Breat Barrier reef in Queensland, Australia. Composed of over 2 900 individual reefs and 900 islands, stretching for over 2 300 kms. It can be seen from outer space !
What can you do to protect them ?
As a diver to minimize your impact on them :
We are back from the first "trip 4" of the season, going up north all the way to Black Rock. Another great trip!
This cruise was under the tag of photography, not less than 7 cameras for 12 divers, and the result was some beautiful shots that you can admire on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/the.smiling.seahorse
In addition of the frenchies photographers, Fred, Flore, Sophie and Nono, we had on board a lovely couple, Maurizio and Gabriella, who decided to come on this 8 days trip without any diving experience except one discover scuba diving few years ago. At the end of the cruise they were delighted by their daring decision, and they are going back home with not only an open water course diploma, they are now advanced open water and enriched air nitrox divers with more than 20 dives each ! Congratulations for your performance ! And to be able to find some time to relax even with this busy program ;-)
Another happy New this week: we spotted the first ghost pipe fish of the season, a baby white one, not more than 2cm long! but also the first Harlequin shrimps of the season (2 pairs!) I love those creatures and so glad they are usually quite territorial so we should find them on the next dive trips! yeah!
You can take a look on the Facebook album and admire the different cute fishes and tiny creatures. We had the chance to assist to a pygmy squid eating a shrimp, morray eel having a feast of glassfishes at night, some cuttlefishes mating, not less than 9 frogfishes, 2 stone fishes sleeping in the top of the sea fan forest pinnacle, turtle, rays and a dozen of smiling seahorses as usual :-)
Stay connected for our next adventures and keep an eye on the Facebook page if you want to see more pictures of the trip.
All the team wish you a wonderful month of December !
Things need to change...
I found these very interesting facts about fishing on myscienceacademy.org.
And that's why we don't serve fish onboard.
What's your opinion?
30/12, Black rock.
Lost in the middle of a clear ocean, Black Rock offers a great visibility and a fantastic spots for big and small creatures. Of course when we are lucky like today, surrounded by dozens of Manta rays, its hard to concentrate on the smaller inhabitants…
The rock is covered by soft coral, bright red and purple, yellow polips explode everywhere and several schools of fish obstruct our view: surgeon fishs, barracudas, glass fish, rainbow runners. Move on, we want to see the mantas!
This is truly an unforgettable dive which we had to film, mantas starts after 1'27''
While loved around the world for their charismatic beauty, graceful dance and inquisitive behavior toward divers Mantas are still fished around the world and truly in danger of extinction. Read more about Mantas protections:
Manta Trust Project Aware
Killed by a shark, what are the odds?
You have all seen “jaws”, or even "Deep Blue Sea" who made sharks so famous as a blood thirsty killing machine. Some of you might be afraid of them coming out from the blue to eat you raw. Looking at this common fear, I went to check what was the real probability to be killed by a shark:
Apparently 1 person out of 300 Million get attacked by a shark, wow! I made some further research and apparently, you have more odds to become president of the United States (1/10 million) or to win an Olympic medal (1/655,000). Girls and guys might feel relieved to read that your odds are a lot more favorable to marry a millionaire (1/220) or even date a super model (88,200 to 1).
You actually are a lot more likely to die from an asteroid falling on your house (20,000 to 1), from some parts falling out of a plane (1/10 millions) and there are 15 times more causalities by falling coconuts than by sharks.
Be careful people, I also discovered in my serious quest that bath tubs and showers are deadly creature as 26 people die electrocuted every year by their water heating system and your odds to die slipping in your bathtubs are about 100 thousands time more likely than being attacked by a shark with an odd of 3,333 to 1.
About 400 people per year get struck by lightning and 900 deaths a year involves either a hippo, a deer, a dog, an elephant or ants as opposed to 5 deaths from shark jaws. Furthermore, most shark attacks are at the surface as the sharks might take a swimmer, surfer, kayaker and the like, for a more usual and tastier prey. So diving underwater with them is even less risky than going to the beach. Furthermore, since shark attacked are recorder (1820) there has not been ONE diver attacked by a shark in Thailand nor Burma!!! Click this link for more statistics.
Sharks are extremely important for the equilibrium of our oceans, they have roamed our oceans since before the time of dinosaurs, but their long reign at the top of the ocean food chain may be ending. Up to 73 million sharks are killed every year to primarily support the global shark fin industry, valued for the Asian delicacy shark fin soup. If you want to help Shark preservation, in addition to boycotting fin soups, visit PEW or Project Aware.
Hope you feel safer in the Oceans J See you soon!
You might have heard the news of a new tsunami coming into Thailand. An earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, around the same place than in 2004 and some were expecting a tsunami of the same dimension to touch Thailand.
We heard the news over the radio, Pong came to tell us the news and we immediately cancelled the following dives for the day and left the island side for a deeper sea.
We immediately felt quite safe, knowing a wave doesn’t break until it reaches shallower grounds but we felt quite worried about what we would find back on the land.
Our phones didn’t have much connection but just enough to reassure the family members which needed it most.
News were slow to come over the radio, in Thai and then in English. We first heard of the earthquake, followed by a rumor of a 18m wave, 30 minutes later we listened in silence the news of the wave reaching Phuket and Koh Lanta and only 20 minutes later were we reassured of minimal damage. We were waiting to see the wave pass us by but to no avail. After two hours of stress, we set the cap to Richelieu Rock and celebrated onboard the good news: No Tsunami, we are the Tsunami survivors!!!
Sophie has been part of the Smiling Seahorse family since 2016.
Living in Thailand for nearly ten years now, she fell in love with the Burmese underwater sceneries and aquatic life.
Her hobbies: traveling and diving of course!
Instructor and dive guide on board, she creates a new blogpost after every trip, to share the magical moments and encounters they enjoyed.
Camille and Franck are the owners of the Smiling Seahorse since 2012.
Camille has been working all around the globe during seven years before creating this company.
Now mother of two little ones, she works at the office and she's the one who will answer all of your questions.
Her hobbies: horse riding, diving and traveling!
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