SAMPLE: BLUE WATER HUNTING AND FREEDIVING Introduction sample - Page 21
Joe Tobin ’ s great shot of the author filming a marlin .
WHALE SHARK and MANTA RAYS
The manta rays of San Benedicto love freedivers . Wild and magnificent , they become tame once you touch them . One lucky day , when the tuna were scarce , these giants came to play . I yell to my friend and fellow bluewater hunter , Bob Caruso , to get his camera , as I temporarily drop my buoyed gun to the bottom .
A manta ray rises under me , its jet-black body and white wingtips contrasting sharply with the brilliant blue water below . I take a deep breath and swim toward it . Two large remora fish make perfect reins with their ugly heads firmly suctioned to the ray ’ s back on either side of its flat mouth . Sensing the increased drag as I grasp the remoras ’ tails , this winged stallion of the sea surges forward and down , starting a giant outside loop . We ’ re flying ! Now upside down , 40 feet under , its massive body shields me from the sun . Water rushes by my ears as the ray ’ s great beating wings return me to the surface , where I dismount for air .
Suddenly a shark-like form appears in the indigo distance , light rays playing off its speckled back . Recognizing it as a whale shark , I wonder , ‘ They don ’ t bite , or do they ?’ As it turns toward me , I ’ m relieved to see that its bearded mouth has no teeth . The ‘ beard ’ is really dozens of foot-long hitchhiking remora fish lined up under its jaw . It passes close enough for
Left , When I saw this image in DAN ’ s magazine , I thought SNAP ! That ’ s the iconic image of a kelp paddy . I had always wanted to capture an image as compelling . I collaborated photographer Richard Herrmann
who provided this image . We now dive together and collaborate . He offers great advice later in the chapter . 227