Wilson Island, Australia; April 2009
Turtles remain my favourite but manta rays come a close second. Rays are astoundingly graceful; they move through the water in a long, unrushed glide, their wings rippling ever so slightly.
We did not see as many rays as turtles during our stay on Heron and Wilson Island on the Great Barrier Reef but we did see a few. The first time we were snorkelling off North Beach at Heron Island, when I saw a strange shape buried in the sand. I looked closely and realised it was a ray and as I watched, I saw it shake off the sand and swim out into the ocean. It was enormous and very beautiful. I also saw rays at Wilson Island, most notably one with a bottle-nose and stubby body, wings with ultraviolet spots on it and a very long tail. It swam around us in large circles for what seemed like ages. Regrettably I did not have the camera with me for either of these encounters, so I don’t have any pictures of rays swimming.
The above picture shows a baby ray buried in the sand in the reef off Wilson Island. You can see his eyes and tail poking up out of the sand. It was quite funny to watch them wriggling around in the sand trying to bury themselves. I assume they get better at it as they grow up.
We were in a national park so the policy is look, don’t touch. I certainly didn’t harass or touch the rays – apart from anything else I’d be worried since some species have stings and this is how Steve Irwin died. I was interested to read this piece in the Guardian about the distress to rays and other animals from interaction with humans.
For more on my marine adventures at Wilson Island, please check out my photo post from earlier on the week on swimming with turtles. I’ve also written a post about “glamping” and the eco-credentials of Wilson Island for EcoSalon.
I also saw clown fish, like Nemo in the movie Finding Nemo, which are shy and live in the anemone …
… and coral (this was a more vivid purple colour in real life).
… and reef sharks.
This post is part of Photo Friday, a weekly blogging event hosted by Debbie of Delicious Baby. The pics were taken with an underwater disposable camera. Please click here to see the photos submitted by other bloggers this week.