Stingray Magic

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On Saturday morning we motored in Faded Glory  up to Wongat Island  to dive The Henry Leith.  It is a favored spot for stingray watching. The most common type of stingray in the local waters is the Blue-Spotted Stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii).

The trick is to sneak up on them from behind, holding your breath as much as possible and catch them before they get nervous and take off. Often, you will see only their eyes protruding from the sand in which they have buried themselves. It is easy to glide right over one without noticing, which is probably the worst thing that you can do. This one is just taking off after letting me get close enough to get a good shot of him:

Blue-Spotted Stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) taking off

Now the stingray glides to a spot a few metres away where it feels more safe. This one is headed right into a school of Pickhandle Barracuda (Sphyraena jello),  but they are no threat to the stingray (or me):

Blue-Spotted Stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) fleeing

When the stingray has gotten far enough away, it settles down onto the sand again:

Blue-Spotted Stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) landing

It’s fun to chase them around the wreck. Since the water is only about 20 metres here, you can spend about an hour doing it, unless it gets boring. In that case you have the entire wreck to explore while you finish your dive.

This image is not particularly good, but you can see the Pickhandle Barracuda from directly overhead in the shadow of The Henry Leith:

Pickhandle Barracuda (Sphyraena jello)

There are plenty of potentially dangerous critters in the waters in which we dive, including some rather comical ones. However, we are careful and know what is safe and what is not. It is part of the magic of diving that there is risk. When the risks are considered and dealt with correctly, the risks themselves add to the enjoyment.

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