By Jamie Smith
A photographer snapped the selfie of a lifetime with a huge ray at an incredible ‘stingray city’.
Snapper Jim Catlin caught the moment pal Mark Tilley was enveloped by the aquatic animals like duvets before he caught a perfectly-timed selfie with one over his shoulder.
Jim, 35, said Mark lured in the rays at Stingray City in Grand Cayman during the sunrise shoot last month by attaching pieces of squid to the back of his diving mask strap.
Southern Stingrays are found in abundance in the shallow sandbars of the Caribbean island, and are regularly hand-fed by tourists so are used to posing for photos.
But the animals, which can grow to 5ft, have a poisonous barb which can cause trauma to humans if it is stepped on or pierces the skin – famously killing Steve Irwin.
Jim, who is based in the Cayman Islands, said: “About seven of us made the 5am meet at the dock to head out to Stingray City in the dark.
“It’s always a very special place to see the sun come up and makes for some incredible photographic opportunities with the resident stingrays.
“In the photos my friend and fellow photographer Mark is pictured taking selfies with the stingrays at sunrise.
“The shots were taken half in, half out of the water to show the stingrays below and the sunrise above.
“Mark looks like some sort of stingray superhero – he looks like he’s wearing a stingray cape!
“I saw Mark attempting to lure in stingrays for his selfie shots by attaching a piece of squid to the back of his mask strap.
“The rays at Stingray City are hand-fed squid on a daily basis so are very used to the attention and knowing where to find their food.
“At some points Mark was completely covered in stingrays and the whole scene just looked too funny not to try and capture.
“Fortunately, the relatively calm conditions meant the over and underwater shots worked really well.
“It was an incredible experience – the sunrise at Stingray City has been on my bucket list for a long time.”