When I lived in Italy, I learned that the best way to find seahorses in a new seagrass area was to dive at night, when they come to the edges of clumps to feed, and are more easily spotted.
Once I knew the spot, I could return and invest time with them in daylight.
megafauna gets divers excited, and is the main draw for exploring seagrass in many areas. In tropical and sub-tropical waters green turtles are the dominant seagrass munchers, chomping through 2kg of grass each day.
Though we regularly encounter green turtles resting on the reef, the seagrass buffet is where we’ll get action shots.
All turtles are covered in quite-reflective scales, so when I spot one my first thought is to click my strobes down a notch. When I see a green turtle, I also remember that they have great facial expressions, even when shot with macro lenses. Youngsters also have very attractive shell markings, and can look great photographed from above, while large adults usually have remoras.
Feeding greens are easily approached, but we should take our time because we don’t want to disrupt their behaviour or stir up any sediment. I love shooting them when they’re making a mess. The worse their table manners the more interesting our shots will be, with seagrass hanging out of their mouths and enveloped in clouds of sediment.
Top trump of seagrass dives is the dugong. Worldwide this endangered and distant relative of the elephant is sparsely distributed and rarely encountered. But the popular coast of the Egyptian Red Sea, north and south of Marsa Alam, is probably the best place in the world to see them, though it still takes some dedication and a fair slice of luck.
I suggest going with a naturalist guide, who will snorkel as you dive. Stay on the boat until you see a dugong, and follow until it reaches its feeding grounds.
Travelling dugongs offer little more than a flyby. But once they’re feeding, you can easily capture great behaviour and portraits.