At the north end of the reef today, 8-26-09, I came upon three Spotted Eagle Ray's swiming for the most part in tight formation and seemingly taking turns feeding in the sand for crabs.
When one would burrow in to feed, the other two would circle around and stand by.
All of a sudden, one of them took off out to the deeper water further off shore. I was curious why and then I saw a scuba diver swimming quickly our way with two SNUBA clients in tow. I suspect the bubbles might bother the rays.
The two who stuck around swam up onto the reef and it wasn't until the divers headed away that they came back out and off of the reef to resume feeding.
I saw the one who bolted away coming back from the dark blue. It was really swimming fast and climbing and droping, going towards the bottom and then towards the surface. At one point, it headed right at me at full speed from 60' away and about 10' away, it slowed and then dove below me. The three got back in sync and back to cruising together.
I was fortunate enough that on one dive down for photos (it was probably 25-30' deep), one had stumbled upon something worth getting into:
I caught it with its mouth extended and just before the dust cloud arrised. A close up crop of the image above:
And then the dust storm began...
I probably swam above them for about 20 - 30 minutes and I could have remained for longer as they were sticking to the same area and just making different passes at it. I figured I had more than enough images to deal with and wanted to get back to the rest of my reef swim course. It was cool to watch the three interact and avoid any collision.