Don’t get all excited! It’s not children or infants. How do you know fish are small? They were very small. I know. But if you shoot them in scale they will be dots in your post. And if you shoot them close, they will look like mature adults. Pediatricians are very very fond to say kids are not miniature adults. And, you can readily tell, most of the time. There are exceptions in which adults dress and make up their kids to be glamour kids. Fascinating, but so weird. Hey! That’s a whole industry right there. But the crown of thorns and blue spotted ray are indeed juvenile. And they look like mature adults. So you have to trust me. As in, “Trust me, I’m a doctor.”
I’ve been diving on this reef about four years. Blue spotted rays always command a stop for a picture. They are commonly seen but not too common. And I have tried all sorts of angles and shot movies and got in real close. Whatever. Until now no one ever raised up and showed me their mouth. I looks drippy and yucky. They must vacuum their food. Can’t see it to eat it obviously. Or should I say obviously can’t see? Following? Rare? For me it is. My first. Not the confusion, it’s this shot of the underside. There are images of giant manta rays with the underside and their mouths. But this spotted ray just smiled for me. Thanks. Meanwhile it must eat a lot of sand with its mouth pressed to the bottom.
For the purpose of a book the whole ray in the picture is fine. For the purposes of illustration I find that a cropped image and more close up detail provides better graphics. I would like to have a little action. So let’s get this guy on the move. They tend to be sedentary until provoked. I don’t do anything. I just get in close and then they move.
Yes there are blue spots. Duh? This is the ray I see most often on the Red Sea reef. It hides under the coral and is not usually on the move unless provoked. It cooperatively stayed put conveniently for me to get an image. I am happy to do so. I am cautioned to stay away from the tail and I do so with enthusiasm. Touching things under the sea has not been a great experience with me. “Don’t touch nothing.” It’s the best advice I ever heeded.
As a general principle I dive with more experienced divers. I have reached the rank of rescue diver master diver. That would place me just below an instructor level. I don’t particularly care to lead or to watch over less experienced divers. I have had many an adventure with novices who have dived with me. A master diver hooked up with me and my assistant. I should have refused. I was going to have my eyes glued to my assistant and another diver was just too much. He was good. Off with his regulator and he posed for a picture with Nemo.
I was taking some shots of my own. A blue spotted ray presented itself for me. Not too shabby, the day was going well until the second dive. The water was a little rough and there was a current. My assistant had buoyancy issues.
Looking at his profile it is easy to see he is not completely comfortable in the water. If you cannot tell then you have not dived enough. I had already added weight to him but he had a tendency to float up. And at the end of our dive he was unable to remain down.
No big deal except for the surface waves and then there was the random up and down motion to make instant sea sickness. He threw up. Not good at any time and especially when you are underwater with a regulator in your mouth. Nasty! So here I was in the rescue mode holding the poor guy by his regulator and bringing him in to the shore. There was another diver away who watched intently as I did the rescue thing. And our companion master diver grinned at me and said, “At least we came back – three.” There is no doubt some humor here somewhere. As for me, a little more up and down and I would have been sick too. I am wondering if it was such a good idea to get rescue diver status.