Stingray takes shelter among divers surrounded by hammerhead sharks

Hammerhead sharks are one of the top predators in the Galapagos Islands. Large and powerful, they swim where they please, with little to fear. They eat fish, octopus, sea lions, and stingrays. A large part of their diet is made up of stingrays. The shark's head is designed to help them capture prey such as stingrays on the seabed. These divers have positioned themselves on a rock ledge to get a look at schooling hammerheads as they pass by on the current near Wolf Island in a very remote and beautiful part of the ocean. The sharks congregate hear in great numbers, feeding on the abundant fish and rays in this area. To watch these apex predators patrolling within a few metres is an exhilarating experience. But the scuba divers here are witnessing something that is quite rare. A spotted eagle stingray has managed to swim through the mass of sharks without being eaten. The spotted eagle ray heads directly for the scuba divers and swims among them, possibly to gain protection from the sharks that are gathered in the deeper water just beyond where the divers are perched. It's very possible that the stingray understands that the sharks will not want to come within arm's reach of the humans. Another possibility is that the stingray is very curious about the diver with the camera. Solon is a seasoned scuba guide and dive master and he has completed well over 15,000 dives in these waters. The stingray that we see here has unique injuries on its left wing that make it recognizable as one that Solon has been seeing near this site for at least 8 years. The stingray seems to recognize Solon and it often makes a beeline for him, seemingly less interested in the other divers that accompany Solon. Intelligent and curious, these animals possess impressive intellect and understanding. It is possible that the stingray can distinguish one diver from another. Solon also has a relaxed and calm presence that might be obvious to the stingray. Whatever the reason for this close pass near Solon, the experience of seeing such a beautiful creature looking into your eyes is a beautiful and unforgettable one. Moments like these make scuba diving one of the most fascinating and thrilling sports in the world.