Looking for Marco in Costa Rica
When you imagine diving in the tropical Costa Rican Pacific Ocean images of giant manta rays, huge pods of dolphins, reef shark, pelagic sharks and even humpback whales might spring to mind. However, if you take a closer look you will be treated to some unique macro life that you might not even have noticed was there. Here are a few favourites from the nearby dive sites of our dive shop in Playa Flamingo.
The Harlequin Clown Shrimp
These colourful, flamboyant looking saltwater shrimp can be found feasting exclusively off of starfish tucked away under small piles of rocks and coral. They live in pairs and easily stand out against the volcanic rocky topography once you’ve spotted them. But at only 5cm long and a knack for hiding you’ll need to look hard to find them. They are very photogenic and always impress fellow divers.
The Common Sea Horse
Sea horses are actually fairly unique creatures in appearance (only the type is common!): their equine name borne from its facial resemblance. These beautiful animals are a great find. They are approximately 5 – 8cms and blend in very well to their background – existing in various colours. They are usually brown, yellow or orange around the dive sites of Ocotal. You’ll normally spot them hooked around the stem of a fan coral or hiding among the rocks.
Sitting still and miserable with their mouths turned down in an unimpressed expression and probably locked in the same place for weeks on end, this angler fish teases passing prey with its almost-invisible lure. When it’s time to move on from its waiting place, the frog fish is able to walk around on its pectoral fins and the name ‘frog’ fish becomes apparent. They can be found in the tropics world-wide. Here in Guanacaste they are approximately 5cms and are particularly hard to spot as they expertly blend in and change colour in phases as they move around.
Chances are if you’re in a big group your guide may not have the opportunity to stop and look for these cute critters. It might be a nice idea to take a photography course specialising in macro life to allow you time to search for them. Or ask for a private guide who has been guiding in the area for a while and is experienced in finding small aquatic life. Remember be an AWARE diver and keep off the rocks and the reef to preserve these small creatures.