We saw the most
amazing big fish on our last dive of the trip, just Chris and me
with Prescott. We met two nurse sharks resting on the bottom. The
first was 8-10' long and surrounded by coral formations. I lay
down on the sand about 3' in front of another 6-8' shark, and
took a head-on flash portrait at point-blank range. The shark
rose up immediately and accelerated away, as shown here. Close
encounters of the exhilarating kind!
My most magical moment was when I kept pace with two spotted rays flying in formation at about 65' depth. Our dive profile limited me to 50' that day, so I followed them about 15' above as they glided gracefully through a valley, over the next hill, and circled around. I felt at one with them as I focused on matching their every move, and the technology of scuba diving faded away. They were kind enough to let me keep up for many minutes.
I learned a lot about digital photo processing while working with the picture of two rays - in the original it was almost uniformly blue since it was deep and out of flash range, and the rays were hard to spot. Edge enhancement really brought out the body and spots of the rays, and sharpening and increasing the contrast also improved the picture. At the time the rays were vividly obvious because of their movement. I think bright sunlight is casting some shadows under the rays here even at 65' depth.
We came across this ray just resting peaceably in the sand. It was about 5' across from wing tip to wing tip, and tolerated me taking a second flash picture head on like a B2 bomber. We saw several other rays, but this was the only one that let us get this close.
We saw several Baracudas
during our dives - they never came too close, and this 5'
Baracuda floated a bit out of flash range with the coral wall
behind. Another Baracuda suddenly appeared in the middle of a
school of Yellow Tails, and Chris saw it make a Yellow Tail
disappear, in one split second gulp!
Here Chris is chasing another Baracuda exiting stage left - Chris kept up for a second or two!