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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hungry Sharks & Ravenous Rays



These nurse sharks looked comfortable snuggling up
for food like puppies at mama’s teat.
Got your attention, huh?  Mine, too!  I was only a few feet away… by choice.  Ummm Mom, nurse sharks  are, according to National Geographic, “for the most part, harmless to humans” (click here to learn more about nurse sharks) and I kept my distance from the rays.

The fisherman at Staniel Cay like to toss their scaps out into the shallow marina waters, luring in the local watery denizens.  Missing was the fanfare around feeding at Saba Rock’s tarpon “show” (click here for that blog), but seeing 25 or so nurse sharks and a half dozen charcoal-colored rays, all taller or wider than I am is dramatic enough.  

This and another ray at the “feed” both lost their tail.
The other rays full tail and stingers were still intact.

Thunderball Grotto, where “Splash”, “Never Say Never” and, of course “Thunderball” were filmed is Staniel Cay’s  real draw (other than neighboring Major Cay’s friendly swimming pigs – watch for a future post on that). We dinghied over to and snorkeled at Thunderball Grotto, an exquisite natural catherdral-ceilinged fishbowl.  Light rays filter from the cavern openings deep into the water below.  Do the tourists come to see the fish?  Or do the fish come to see the tourists?  In any case, both are there in abundance. 

We could tell the “free food” bonanza outside Staniel Cay marina
was old hat but welcome easy pickins for the sharks and the rays.

If only my “water” camera WORKED as a WATER camera!  Instead at the hint of too much moisture, it periodically fogs, even though it’s spec’d to work in 15 feet of water. 

If you look closely, you can see the remoras, “cleaner fish”
on two of these three sharks.
That just means we’ll have to come back again someday, with a water camera that actually works like a water camera!

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From dramatic to just plain pretty -- another view
from Staniel Cay mar