Dianne Widdowson, formerly of Coralita, the first great dive charter boat on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. This picture was Day One of a La Mer Diving Expedition group (New York NY) – where the best dives were made at the start of a 10-day trip (instead of at the end). We encountered a strong current running south on the wreck.
We found the sleeping giant stingray ‘nest’ alongside the Yongala shipwreck. I carried a Nikonos 4a (28mm lens) and a Eumig Nautica Super8. Both light and easy to use but far from what professionals usually carry. The movie sequence appears in my video “Reef Safari”, (1984) which is no longer in release.
In between movie sequences a few stills were obtained. The sleeping stingray shot has since had color shift on the original transparency, so it looks best as B&W today. Sharpness has been retained.
Dianne Widdowson approached to within a borderline safe distance from these large and dangerous rays. They would not ‘attack’ of course – unless you did some foolish stunt – such as trying to touch one. These could be termed ‘wild’ as there was no resort-type fish feeding going on.
It was interesting to note how the rays sleep or ‘rest’ – wingtips touching. Any movement by one ray would signal the next and the next and so on. Tiger sharks would be their main enemy I imagine.
The slight raising of a tail is to be taken as a warning.
Earlier in the dive several large Cobia (Black Kingfish) had been near the rays while also nearby and under the stern of Yongala, three giant Queensland groper – possibly 100 to 150kg each. They didn’t stay around too long either.
The estimated one knot of strong current had brought very clear water but provided too strong for the overseas guests to swim against. None got to see the groper or stingray as we had anchored near the other end of the wreck.
Many thought the current stronger than one knot.
Details of the Yongala wreck are elsewhere on the net as it is (or was) one of the famous shipwreck dives of the world. Close to a city and in shallow water surrounded by a sea of sand making the wreck an underwater oasis.