New spots, new guide, new luck!?
We try, the first dive site is supposed to be a very good site to spot white tips and hammerheads, the second to see Rays (eagle, golden and maybe manta).
After a semi-complicated start caused by the new girl that didn’t have enough weight and the DM loosing her, we start drifting. After a couple of minutes luck seems to be playing with us, the fists mini school of white tips is just there. We stop, hold on a rock and watch. With the time passing, they get more and more curious and start checking us out, very cool! Meanwhile, schools of fish and turtles keep on passing by. We start moving again, we still want to see the hammerheads. As the dive goes on we keep on seeing white tips and turtles but no hammerhead, after all luck didn’t totally play with us. 60 minutes into the dive we start the ascend, three more minutes of safety stop and then it happens, at 1 m depth there they are, two beautiful small hammerheads waiting for us. Amazing! With big smiles on our faces we surface and get ready for more.
After a short lunch break we go rays spotting, as we drop to the bottom it is immediately clear why this site is so good for rays, an immense plain full of huge garden eels extends in front of us. Garden eels are thin eels that live in vertical holes in the sand, when no predator (first of all eagle rays) is around they come out of their holes standing upright catching food. When a predator (or a diver) is getting too close they quickly retract into the safety of the hole. They live in big groups creating what looks like gardens, hence the name.
After just a couple of minutes we see the first medium sized eagle ray, but it is just an appetizer to what is to come, seconds later a group of 12 spotted eagle rays is effortlessly passing five meters in front of us. The sight is amazing, but what is even more impressive is the size of the rays spanning from 80 cm to 3 m of wingspan, massive and still the most elegant sight you can imagine. The school stays around for a good five minutes giving me the chance to take some good (I hope – remember my display is not working) video shots. We move around a bit just to find another school and enjoy the spectacle. Not enough, while I’m filming Sarah spots a hammerhead!
Definitely a good day and at 2pm we’re back in Puerto Ayora to rest and enjoy our memories.
Eagle ray video coming