First, I have no photos of the actual events, and will instead link to better and more fortunate photographers and videographers than I. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you that I witnessed something spectacular and feel incredibly blessed.
Here is a spotted leopard ray. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them while snorkeling. This photo is from Wikipedia.
Did you know they could jump? Most of you probably do; some of you may have seen it.
Over the past three years, I’ve heard the loud splash, I’ve caught a glimpse at the end of a leap, but I’d never witnessed a full leap until this week.
On days when EW works and I don’t I can opt to stay on the boat all day, or take EW to work, use the dinghy and pick him up. Late last week I took him to work and returned home on what we call the “outside” route between Hassel and Water Islands. It was a calm, sunny day, and I was enjoying the views and watching out for other boats.
About twenty feet off my starboard quarter – that’s on the right side, a bit ahead of the boat – a leopard ray leaped out of the water, flew for a second and belly flopped back into the ocean. I gasp and laughed and gasped again when he came back out of the water just seconds later, flopping back into the sea.
It was fantastic, and I described it to many others over the next few days.
This morning, I elected to stay aboard, and was reading in the cockpit while EW got ready for work when I heard a splash and saw lots of spraying water – too much for a pelican – not ten feet from the starboard side of the La Luna. I jumped up in time to see a ray leap one more time, splashing back with a resounding SMACK, and sending up a ray-sized tsunami.
“Wow! Oh Wow!”
“What happened?” asked EW.
“A ray! A ray just jumped twice!”
He smiled and was pleased for me. But it wasn’t nice. It was fantastic. It was amazing. It was a gift.
I am thankful.
Here’s a great video of a leaping ray – but I can’t believe those two snorkelers missed it!
Here’s a video that show may devil rays, leaping. Oh my.
And yes, I’ve heard the stories about eagle rays falling onto boats. Here’s one. I’m not worried.