Tuesday, April 16, 2013

swimming with sharks and stingrays

While on Moorea, in early December of 2012,  our friend Frank Murphy (an old college friend of Howard's from the UC Santa Cruz field quarter days) took us out to play with the rays and sharks. We didn't really know what to expect as we arrived at a nondescript spot in the lagoon. Frank grabs some fish parts as bait and jumps in the water. With in moments he is surrounded by stingrays, nuzzling up to him, circling around him. Howard, Owen and I quickly follow him into water with our snorkels and masks on, grab some bait and feel like we are being mobbed. The rays are super soft in a slippery sort of way, they nuzzle up to you like a squirmy pack of puppies. Avery was freaked out, wouldn't get in the water. In (what is sure to get me a 'parent of the year' award), I grabbed her ankle and pulled her in the water. Some where in here is where Frank said "oh yeah, this is the type of ray that killed Steve Irwin....."  I hushed him up quick....... A little bit of kicking, whimpering and clinging later she got over her fear, and had a blast feeding them, touching them and letting them swim all about her. (If you ask her, this is one of her highlights from being in Tahiti)

Frank and friends

Avery getting nuzzled

We got to hang out for about an hour in the zone. Another boat with a tourist group showed up too, this obviously was the "spot".  We swam around with the rays under water and when under water you could get a good look at the other guests. The Black tipped reef sharks. (Sorry no pictures of them)  The sharks were about 3 feet long, and had black tips on there fins. They stayed 20 feet away, circling and circling around us and the boat, hoping for a tasty tidbit to float there way. But the rays were to piggy to allow that. All in all another fantastic experience.

they're eating her
(actually they are not, I am feeding them:)

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