At the end of a long day of unproductive diving, I was about to call it quits and make my way back to the boat when my dive buddy’s video lights caught my attention. He was making his way toward me, so I thought I would wait for him. But then the hazy water produced the most beautiful torpedo ray and I realized my dive buddy was following it, hoping to get some good footage.
I will admit, I was so excited to see the graceful creature, that I could hardly keep my wits about me. I swam around the animal getting it’s portrait from every angle. Then I noticed it had a very round expectant belly.
The animal continued to move slowly around in the water column close to both me and my dive buddy. It was just so graceful, and like a moth to a flame, I reached out to stroke it’s side as it glided by.
I usually wear gloves with one finger cut out so that I can work the gears on my camera. My buddy was a little too far away, but he later told me he saw my bare finger reaching out toward the Torpedo Ray and in his mind he was shouting NOOOOOOOO!
As I marveled at the docile nature of the creature, it suddenly darted over my head and its pregnant belly brushed my regulator as it did. Suddenly I remembered a crucial fact about Torpedo Rays. They are also called “Electric” rays. A mild shock was delivered through my regulator to my mouth. Holy Torpedo Ray! I just got a shocking kiss on the mouth!
Lucky for me, the animal wasn’t purposefully discharging an electric shock to me, but its sudden movement created a mild pulse of electricity. My dive buddy looked at me with a panicked expression on his face and gave me a worried OK? sign. I indicated I was fine, as I realized with chagrin what might have transpired. A Torpedo Ray can discharge an electric pulse of 50-200 volts. That is about the equivalent of dropping a hairdryer into a bathtub. It was my lucky day, as this ray was not interested in giving me the kiss of death. Still, it is a kiss I will not soon forget!
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My photographs are taken with a Nikon D810 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 Strobes.
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Copyright 2017 Brook Peterson