Crystal Beach, TX—When nine-year-old Reese Dearing noticed something floating in the water at the Sandy Shores edition at Crystal Beach, TX. he thought it was a small clump of sargassum (seaweed).
He simply followed childhood curiosity and picked it up.
What he found however blew his mind and this wildlife journalist’s as well.
Instead of seaweed, it was a tiny seahorse, an adult dwarf seahorse to be exact, a creature he (and I) have never seen alive in the wild.
He brought the tiny creature up to show his parents who quickly shot these photos and video clips and put the intricate little creature back into the sandy green waters of the Gulf to live a full life.
I learned of the discovery gassing up for a shark fishing trip as his mother Dana proudly showed me the images. Reese beamed with pride at his unique discovery.
This event reminded me of times spent beach combing with my parents searching out shells and sand dollars.
There was something beautiful about those times and there is something beautiful about Reese’s discovery.
For his entire life he will now view the Gulf of Mexico as a place of possibilities. Not only does he now know it is full of common Texas beach finds like hardhead catfish, jellyfish and crabs. But now he nows he most iconic small ocean creature-the seahorse-also dwells there.
I hope it instills in him a deep appreciation for the grand work God did in the Gulf. Seeing the whole family light up when relating the story further strengthened my resolve to write about what I call the “forgotten sea”.
The Gulf of Mexico and all of its wonders get little attention from the corporate wildlife media but encounters like this can do what dozens of television programs cannot.
I appreciate Dana and her husband Brent for allowing me to share these images with you and I especially appreciate Reese being curious enough to explore what he found at the beach.
That’s how a lifelong love and appreciation of the ocean and its inhabitants is born.
Chester Moore, Jr.
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