I feel like we can all agree that there is something extremely inviting about the turquoise waters surrounding St. John. And I’m not just talking about floating around and sipping on a cocktail inviting (because we all know how wonderful that experience is). I’m talking about sticking your face in the water and exploring the world beneath the surface.
There’s just something so magical about how the sun’s rays penetrate the surface and reflect off the colorful corals. There’s a whole other existence down there living in harmony together. And if you’ve ever had the opportunity to see a string ray or better yet, an eagle ray cruise by, you know exactly what I mean when I say magical.
Spotted eagle rays are by far one of my favorite animals to see underwater. If you are lucky enough to have seen one, you know they truly are majestic. They way they cruise by, effortlessly gliding through the water. It is just incredible.
Recently, I was lucky enough to have THREE eagle rays fly right over my head! It is fairly common to see them in pairs, but it was my first time seeing a trio! I’ve seen some cool things underwater, but it was truly a WOW moment. I just felt so grateful that they swam by me. Luckily I had my camera ready and quickly snapped a few photos!
The Roughtail Ray is another species that we see around St. John. They tend to be much larger than the most commonly seen Southern Stingray. They are a bit of a darker gray in color, and are definitely more docile, usually laying in the sand. Even though they are massive (up to a 8.5 foot wingspan), it’s possible that you could swim right over them and not spot them because they like to bury themselves under the sand!
So next time you are out for your leisurely snorkel around St. John, and you see a sting ray, follow it around for a bit. If you notice it hovering just off the bottom, they are probably using the receptors under their nose to find food buried in the sand. And you might be lucky enough to see it kick up some sand and find itself a snack. And sometimes, they have a buddy hanging with them looking for leftovers!
The article and above photos are all courtesy of the fantastic Scuba Maxsta! This is the second in his “Under the Sea” series. If you missed his first post, spend a few moments of your day with some majestic sea turtles here. Check out some more of his Sting Ray photography in the gallery below or visit his site to view the whole collection!