I have a tendency, when out snorkeling, to revisit places where I’ve seen something interesting. So if I’ve seen a frogfish, a shark, or gargantuan blenny in a particular place, I go back there to see if it’s still there. Bear in mind that these are creatures that extremely mobile and move around a good deal.
And yet, there’s method in this madness. Many fish are territorial and so do occupy a very limited area which they defend with great vigor. Others might be more transient, but tend to feed in certain areas.
Spotted eagle rays fall into this latter category. They can cover large distances, but tend to feed on sandy bottoms, shoveling the sand with their bills to uncover the marine invertebrates that they feed on.
This eagle ray was dong just that, cruising low over the sand, pausing occasionally dig for potential prey. But after a long spell of this activity, it rose in the water, cruised around, and made a close pass, clearly checking me out. It did this a couple of times before heading back down and in toward the shore in search of food.
I don’t think there was any reason for this behavior other than a curiosity to see what this ungainly creature was that was following it. And it’s not alone in this behavior. Manta rays also do this along with dolphins, sharks, and a fair number of smaller fish. They’re curious about us; we’re curious about them. This is what makes getting in the water fun.