Giant devil fish, rays and panic attacks

Ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated by rays... PaislyeJade has been terrified by them.

She remembers an obviously doctored photo in an old local surf shop of an areal view of a dingy dwarfed by the shadow of a giant manta swimming beneath it. The imagery that fuels nightmares.

In our early years of marriage we had a couple of too-close-for-comfort encounters with rays.

We were having a leisurely snorkel one afternoon at a picture-perfect inlet and I came across one rather large ray basking beside a rocky outcrop. I pointed it out to PJ and couldn't believe her courage as she she swam right up to it. It wasn't until it started looking very threatening, did PJ then proceed to have a panic attack. Courage didn't motivate her to get close up and personal with the ray that day... her mask was so fogged up that she couldn't see it, until she was almost kissing it.

On another fateful Monday morning, we had only just started a classic surf session when I noticed that the sandy floor a couple of meters below us was quite literally covered with rays. What they were doing I cannot say... basking, spawning? But it was a little unnerving. Why oh why did I point them out to an oblivious PJ? Panic attack no.2.

Alright, so we all know that rays are harmless beautiful creatures. A reassuring fact sure enough, until its believability is shattered when Google reveals pieces of trivia like...

"Simon Pierce of Queensland University's School of Biological Sciences said there were no accurate records of stingray deaths, but estimated there had been about 30 worldwide in recent years."

And of course we can't forget the late great Hunter of Crocodiles... by crikey.

Ever wanted to know how big these suckers get?

The Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research, Inc. website claims that the largest manta species 'Manta Birostris' can have a wingspan of 9.1 meters.

Maybe the photo in the surf shop was real after all.

4 comments:

PaisleyJade said...

Okay - I remember both of those embarrasing situations clearly... and I'm still embarrased!

Jon said...

You should get one, put him in your river and name him Ray . . . Comfort.

Rachel Kate said...

If it makes you feel less embarrassed, I'm scared of backing the car down a long driveway, at night, when the back windows fogged up.... hehe a couple of people have been subject to some hefty panic attacks lol poor things

lesmondj said...

No sir...don't like em!