Spotted eagle stingray glides majestically past scuba diver

The waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands hold some of the most beautiful sights on the planet. Scuba divers venture here from all over the world to view magnificent creatures like gigantic eagle rays, hammerhead sharks and whale sharks. They enter the water in strong current and make a rapid descent to the bottom to grip the rocks and find a perch from which they can watch the most brilliant show in the world. Three strong ocean currents converge around the islands of Darwin and Wolf, causing an upwelling of plankton, nutrients and food that bring small fish, which attract larger fish. The waters are abundantly rich with life and diversity. These spotted eagle rays are magnificent creatures with surprisingly high intelligence. They have evolved an ability to detect the electrical impulses of their prey through thousands of nerve cells located in their wings and around their heads. They can also sense minute changes in water temperature and pressure. They are extremely capable hunters. Spotted eagle rays are unique in appearance and they are among the most graceful and beautiful of all the undersea animals. Their long whip tails possess a barb with powerful venom that acts as a very effective means of defense. Capable of inflicting serious, even fatal wounds on large predators, they are usually avoided by all animals except large sharks. This scuba diver was hanging onto a rock in the strong current off Darwin Island when the two eagle rays appeared and swam casually past him, almost within arm's reach. They fought the current, making slow progress creating a prolonged and memorable experience for the lucky divers in this group.