As the sun rises over Portugal’s highest peak, the wake of the speeding boat turns molten gold, shards of water glint like glass as the boat speeds towards the mid-ocean pinnacle of Princess Alice Bank.
50 nautical miles North East of the Azorean island of Pico, mobulas and a myriad of pelagic fish congregate around the seamount that ascends from the depths down to 27 metres.
Wahoo patrols the shallows, while Barracuda circle in a magnificent, ever-changing vortex from the pinnacle to the waves. Atlantic bonito and Skipjack tuna speed through the mid-waters in a cloud of shimmering silver. Yet all make way for the largest animal on the mount, the Mobula.
As the 3-metre Mobula rays appear as if from nowhere I freeze awe, watching their elegant dance through the canyons, gorges, and ravines of the pinnacle, and then with a change of pace ascending within inches of each and every diver.
The Author: Chris Vyvyan Robinson is an underwater photographer and divemaster based in the Azores.