We had just returned to the skiff after circumnavigating Matt Lowe's Cay in the kayak. As we were staring out into the Sea of Abaco, while having a snack in the shade of our bimini top, we saw something white flopping on the surface of the water in the distance. Our conversation went something like this:
Dave: Did you see that?
Carol: What is it, an injured white bird?
Dave: No it's shiny; it looks like a big fish.
Carol: Now it's white again.
Dave: Wanna go see what it is?
Carol: Can I finish what I’m eating first?
Dave: Nope, LET'S GO! You drive; I'll pull up the anchor!
So off we went, and as we got closer we immediately knew what it was...a
southern stingray in distress. We had seen this happen before, when a ray jumps
out of the water to rid itself of parasites (or maybe it just feels good?), but
when it hits the water, it lands upside down. I am surprised that Mother Nature
doesn't give them the natural ability to right themselves, but this is what we
were looking at flopping around (thank you to whoever posted this photo since I
didn't have my camera)…
Then the big question was, how do we flip this poor guy over? Before we had
loaded up the kayak in the skiff for our adventure, we had removed the snorkel
gear including our gloves (we were going out to the reef to feed the Bermuda chubs,
but there was a 5 ft. swell and breaking waves). However we did have our kayak
paddles. The plan was for me to slowly approach the ray while Dave stood at the
bow with paddle in hand, ready to flip it over like a pancake. It took a couple
of tries, but he finally got the paddle under it and gently turned it over with
a flick of his wrist. Immediately it swam down to the bottom and buried itself into
the sand, taking a much needed rest.
We let out a big yahoo for our good deed for the day.............and I got to finish eating