Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Request permission for a flyby"

These are my best photos yet of a spotted eagle ray. They're still terrible but they do at least capture that certain stealthbomberness of these mavellous creatures.


I've seen more of these in the past month or so than ever before. This one cruised past us on a deep wreck dive we get to do very rarely. the pictures don't really convey its scale but this beastie is probably 6 feet across and 8 feet long (the tails on these are very long). I was finning like crazy and it wasn't really doing anything but still moving away from me very quickly. Like a few pelagic sharks, eagle rays move by a method that is technically far closer to flying than swimming. Think of it as an underwater eagle; a few quick flaps followed by long, effortless gliding.


I would love this photo if (a) I hadn't cut her tail off (it's a female) and (b) there wasn't that white blotch on her right wing - its backscatter - camera flash reflected off a particle in the water between me and the ray.

If you look closely at her left wing close to her tail you'll be able to see a tiny remora hitching a ride.


Anonymous said...

Very nice photos. I hadn't seen this type of ray previously.

tai haku said...

Thanks wren. although spotted eagle rays are fairly common across the world's tropical seas because they spend their time moving constantly in deep water as opposed to chilling in the sandy shallows like most rays you sadly don't see photos of them that often.