National Geographic : 1989 Jan
Ballet with tingrays TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID DOUBILET I HAD ALWAYS THOUGHT of stingrays, with their broad wings and graceful movements, as almost mythological beasts: part bird, part fish. These crea tures have long been feared for their whiplike tails bearing a spine that can deliver an excruciatingly painful wound. Now, as a crystalline wave washes over my camera-half in, half out of the water-I watch in fascination as two stingrays cruise the shallows of North Sound off Grand Cayman. I have come to join divers who, amazingly, have been feeding large groups of southern stingrays (Dasyatisamericana)in waters protected by a barrier reef. As they gather around me, the rays lose their fearsome reputation. I find them to be gentle, wondrous birds of the sea. UNDERSEA CATERER bearingfish scraps, Penny PritchettHatch (overleaf) attractsan octet of sting rays, as well as goatfish and yellowtail snappers, in what local divers now call Stingray City.