Some people have been dedicated divers for decades and never spotted the shark ray (below). But Scottish pupils on a field trip recently managed to snorkel with one.
The shark ray is an endangered fish sadly, much prized for its fins and, as a species that lives on the seabed, tends not to be seen often.
When Geoff Morgan, assistant principal teacher of biology at George Watson's College in Edinburgh, spotted it during the S5 biology field trip to Malaysia, he was not sure if he had seen a ray or a shark. Then the marine biologists in the party recognised it as a shark ray. "It was an amazing experience to see such a beautiful and rare animal so close," he said.
The shark ray was the talk of the diving community on the island of Pulau Tioman in Malaysia for the next week. Even those who had been diving there for more than 20 years had not seen one.