Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Friday, January 27, 2006
Last Monday, which was a holiday here in the Cayman Islands, I went out with Off The Wall divers for a little 2-tank dive in the afternoon. It was a bit windy and bumpy, but it all went fine. We scooted up around the corner and did a deep dive at Hepp's Wall out in front of the Turtle Farm. As we were cruising along around 80 feet or so, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and turned to see this whitish stingray-lookin thing swimming just above the reef.

It took me a minute to recognize it but the 'scalloped' leading edge, which looked like uncooked pizza dough, piqued something in my memory. I had SEEN one of these things before, years ago when I worked at Soto's. I had been doing a dive on the west side, and the videographer, Elspeth, called me back down rather frantically to see something, so I sunk down there and saw this weird looking ray. I aimed my camera at it, tripped the shutter and... the battery died. D'OH!

This time, I was ready. I took a few shots of him swimming around, and then got this shot as he landed on a ledge of coral. Shortly after this shot, he fluttered is fins to push him further into the reef and out of the light, and did a good job of stirring up the bottom making it difficult to take pictures.

When I got home, I pulled out Paul Humann's Reef Fish book and flipped to the section on rays. I found a picture that looked just like this one, and read/remembered then that it was called a torpedo ray.

There isn't a lot known about Torpedo Rays, they have been known to deliver an electric shock as a defense mechanism, and they're rarely spotted. The field guide said they were rare in the northeastern Caribbean, and not known/spotted elsewhere. Ironically the photo he had of the Torpedo Ray in his book was taken here in Grand Cayman, back in the day by Wayne Hasson, who's the owner of the Aggressor Fleet.

Unlike any other blurbs/writeups in the book, this one had a note attached to it that the author is very interested in finding out more about these guys and their sightings and whatnot, so after I finish moving this weekend and unpack some books, I'll see if there's any contact info in the back of the book.
Friday, January 27, 2006 7:33:38 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Pictures | Underwater#
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