<< Previous Next >>

Sea Cow

Sea Cow
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Bergquist (Pedda) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 41 W: 1 N: 247] (1287)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-04-26
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Nikon D70, Nikkor 18-70mm
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/100 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Underwater World, World of Wales, Selen's Favorites II, Underwater Wonder World 5, under and above the seas and lakes [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-05-23 10:45
Viewed: 11119
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is a Sea Cow or more precise a Dugong (Dugong dugon). You’ll find it at a dive site called Abu Dabbab three hours taxi drive south of Hurghada. It spends its time there swimming around in a shallow bay eating seagrass.

This is for sure one of the hardest picture I’ve ever taken work wise. First me and my buddy snorkelled for 10 minutes in high waves before we spotted it on 8 meters depth. During the ascend I realise that it’s a lot of particles in the water which is no good for the visibility. We had maximum 6 meters visibility only and my camera had problem to auto focus so I had to switch over to manually and hope for the best since I cant change the focus manually under the water. 4 pictures out of 60 taken is usable. One thing that made it even harder was that current and swells as well to fight against. But luckily the Dugong was more interested in eating instead of being afraid of me and my camera.

I’ve spent some time in PS cloning away particles and I’ve also adjusted the levels.

Now some info about the Sea Cows:

The Sea Cow is an aquatic mammal. Their front legs are modified into fins without free moving joints. The animal may rest on its front legs and uses them for complex movements like pushing food into its mouth. The hind legs are reduced into small bone fragments hidden inside the body. The cigar shaped body end with a big tail fin. The tail fin is rounded in the family Trichechidae (Manatees) and forked in the family Dugongidea (Dugong). The small eyes are protected against the sea water by the secretion of a special gland. Unusual for mammals is their mechanism of tooth replacement: new once continuously appear at the rear end of the row and the whole row is moving forward. It’s only the elephants that do it also.

There three species of the Manatee family have six cervical vertebrae. The best know is Trichechus manatus grows up to 4 meter and weights up to 400 kg. It moves between salt- and freshwater and inhabits the East coast of America from Florida to Brazil.

The Dugongs have seven cervical vertebrae. Dugong dugon grows up to 3 meter and weights up to 400 kg. It’s almost extinct in the Red Sea and at the East coast of Africa. But you’ll find it from there to the West Pacific.

A total of about 4000 Dugongs are estimated to live in the Red sea. Fork-tailed dugongs and round-tailed Manatees are the only plant-eating marine mammals on earth. Each animal grazes up to 40 kg of seagrass and algae per day. The oldest known Dugong had reached an age of 70 years. They usually live in pairs, male and female or mother and young.

The marks that you see on the back of the Dugong are mainly from zodiac propellers.

Hope you like the picture.

Fisher, thistle, Robbrown, urban, TAZ, marhowie, sandpiper2, Luc, natc, LCannon, Ingrid1 has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Fisher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1540 W: 309 N: 2234] (8915)
  • [2005-05-23 11:34]

Excelent shot and well done on the details and composition.
Excelent presentation.


Superb shot!
It was hard to get it but, no doubt, it was worth the effort.
Very good photo with very good details.
The animal looks great.
I like the photo very much.
Well done!

  • Great 
  • urban Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 71 W: 4 N: 79] (413)
  • [2005-05-23 15:50]

As I was there trying to find that Dugong for two whole dives without success I appreciate the effort to get a picture of it :-). It is sad to see all those propeller marks though!

very nice to see these peaceful mammals, though as you point out they seem to suffer at the hands of man far too often, even the US ones in florida boats are a major reason for death and injury.
The sea grass looks well trimmed must take it ages to eat enough to keep body and soul together. TFS

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2005-05-24 3:43]

Belle et intéressante composition aquatique bien réalisée. Bon point de vue et bonne netteté.
Interesting sea world & well done !

Impressive shot Peter, Great quality photo. I like your perspective and the way you've shown the sea cow feeding..Most sriking are the prop marks all over the back, demonstrating the manatee's plight..Very well done!

  • Great 
  • Bac Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 93 W: 3 N: 33] (486)
  • [2005-05-25 13:13]

Good portrait. I like this animal. Nice shot

I like and appreciate these underwater shoots that you guys take. I know how hard it is, especially in relation to the current.
I think you've done a great job with this one, an individual that has had a lot of encounters with propellers, as you say. You'd think they'd learn to avoid the craft.
Exposure is quite good and I like the composition. Well done.

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2005-05-29 1:23]

Hello Peter.
Personal assessment of the photo: great.
Strong visual impact.
Aptness of the photo for the site: excellent.
Personal assessment of the note: complete.
Thank you very much for sharing.

  • Great 
  • natc (4)
  • [2005-06-29 19:04]

i went to abu dabbad and spent 2 hours looking for this dugong... with no success! other people diving with us saw it but their picture were blurred and had so many particles that i could not really figure out how it looks like. now i know, thanks a lot

Great photo. Show how vulnerable these animals are. How careful we should be to protect them. Hope the Egyptian government is doing something! Would love to swim some time with an animal like this.
Specially for a photo under water I think the quality and colors are good.

Dear Peter,
Thank you for all the information and congratulations on seeing a sea cow!
You must have been madly excited, when you first glimpsed it.

I have added your work to my new theme "under and above the seas".

Thanks for sharing,
Take care
Warm greetings from South Africa

Calibration Check