Back in January earlier this year I decided to head over state lines to the South Australian Fleurieu Peninsula with a mission to capture images of the “Leafy Sea Dragon” as part of my latest series of soon to be exhibited palladium prints entitled “Dracones et Equorum” (Dragons & Horses).
My destination was Rapid Bay, nestled between a long sandy beach and towering cliffs, Rapid Bay is 105 kilometres south of Adelaide and reached by a steeply descending road from the main Normanville-Cape Jervis Road. Rapid Bay is renowned for it’s diving and particularly it’s resident population of sea dragons, this said as I soon discovered they’re not easy to find especially when conditions are challenging. It is for this reason that for me local knowledge is essential and I was fortunate to have some of the best available at my disposal. Adelaide diver and fellow photographer Robert Rath along with local McLaren Vale dive operator Nathan Barrett from NB Scuba became my eyes, guides, assistants and dive buddies which ensured mission was accomplished within the time and weather condition restraints.
Recently I have begun to shoot some video during my field trips to enhance the viewing experience and on this occasion to highlight the grace and beauty with which these majestic creatures navigate the surges and tidal movements in their environment. This one goes for just over a minute but it will give you a taste of what we experienced..
Some interesting facts about sea dragons: As with sea horses, sea dragon males are responsible for childbearing. But instead of a pouch, like sea horses have, male sea dragons have a spongy brood patch on the underside of the tail, as you can observe throughout the video, where females deposit their bright-pink eggs during mating. The eggs are fertilized during the transfer from the female to the male. The males incubate the eggs and carry them to term, releasing miniature sea dragons into the water after about four to six weeks.
Looking forward to sharing another experience with you soon..