Sharks & Rays
Caribbean Reef Sharks
The Caribbean Reef Shark (Carcharhinus perezi) can often be found gliding gracefully along the edge of a drop off or further down along the wall. Although they might seem frightening, they are largely indifferent to human presence. If you get close, the shark will stare at you from the side with one eye locked onto you until it passes by, and if you happen to be blocking its path, the shark will just go around you. The first picture was taken at a distance of about 2 feet from the shark (I didn't realize I was so close because the lens I was using made the shark look farther away on my camera). Despite my close proximity, the shark barely took notice of my presence and continued to swim forward. Sharks are often demonized in the media, but in reality, they are generally harmless in most of their encounters with humans.
Spotted Eagle Ray
The spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) may be found along the sandy ocean floor between areas of the reef. Eagle rays frequent sandy areas because they hunt for food within the sand; they use their shovel-shaped snouts to dig in the sand and then use their plate-like teeth to crack open the shells of crustaceans and mollusks they uncover. Eagle rays can also be found gliding over the blue above the deep end of coral reefs, traveling to their next destination.