My experiences diving with Southern Eagle Rays, Myliobatis australis, have all been fleeting affairs.
Timid and never lingering they always seem to glide into view and the off into the distance with no real opportunity to get a feel for their beautiful form and grace. This ray under Rapid Bay jetty last weekend was not different.
It came from behind, swooping past my right shoulder, swam across my vision from right to left then swam out into the sea grass beds. I tried to follow but there did no seem any point as it almost disappeared into the gloom.
Then I noticed a sweeping dark shape head back under the jetty again and head back towards me.
I got one chance for an image as the eagle ray swam straight towards me, suddenly realised I was in its path and then shoot off again into the distance.
Photo: Robert Rath, ‘Lone Eagle’, 1/125s f/14 ISO320 15mm