Swimming With The Fishes « Shoot Me Now

Shoot Me NowSwimming With The Fishes

Swimming With The Fishes
Published on Sunday, June 12, 2011 by

When we reach the top of the beach stairs we can always judge the quality of the water by the people on the beach.  Arms up means icy temperatures.  Waves filled with riders means warm and wonderful.  No one swimming means jellyfish, 50-degree water or blue crab larvae.

corolla beach house

This Saturday revealed a few people in the shore break but no one further out.  “It must be cold,” was our first thought.  Surprisingly, it was actually cool and comfortable.  Furthermore, it was so crystal clear that you could see to the bottom.  What did we do?  Jump in!

It was glorious!  Cold but not freezing, gentle rolling waves and almost a Caribbean like sparkle.  “Why isn’t anyone else in the water?”  “I don’t know… it’s perfect!”  “Well, it is a little chilly – maybe they think it’s too cold.”  “Hmmm… it’s not that bad.  When no one is in the water, there is a reason.  I guess we will soon find out!”  (I said, glancing around to look for killer whales, sharks or electric eels.)

And then I found out why.

Three large shadows caught my eye as they came directly towards me.  Do you know how hard it is to back off in five feet of ocean water?  Stunned, I watch three GIANT cownose rays fly towards me, make a sharp turn and swim away.

I get it now.

Looking in the distance, I saw more dark areas throughout the waves.  I-think-we-will-get-out.  NOW.

When I turned towards the boys I saw one looking at the other with big eyes.  Then both turned to look behind them.  They began to walk towards the shore.  Another look back.  And then I discovered they could walk on water.

I wish I had heard the dialogue they shared with me later.  “Ummmm, don’t freak out or anything, but there are two huge rays coming directly towards us!.”

Throughout the day we stayed thigh deep with our eyes peeled for oncoming rays.  These aren’t the little guys you see caught on the occasional hook.  These are large ocean creatures that reached about four feet across from wing tip to wing tip.  They are NOT something you want to be swimming with.

In the 30 years we have been in the Outer Banks waters, we have never seen anything quite like this.  Mother Nature is an astounding lady, who always has another trick up her sleeve. This time, she left us swimming with the rays, quite literally.

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  • Ron

    OMG…reading this post and watching that video reminded me of my 20 years spent living in Florida and going water skiing in the intercoastal waterway.

    The rays would literally follow you while you were being pulled by the boat; periodically FLYING out of the water right next to you.


    Beautiful photo of the beach, Katherine! Yes, the water looks very Caribbean!

    • Wow Ron! Did anyone ever get hurt by them, or did they just “come to say hello” and go back in the water? These guys were big enough that I felt pretty intimidated by them!

  • Way cool beach and the water is really clear.  As for the rays?  I’d be out of the water too.  What a great capture you did though.  Way cool.

    Have a terrific day.  🙂

    • The water is not that clear very much… it was such a treat to see it so beautiful. Most of the time the waves churn everything up… it was amazing though!

  • That is awesome!  Not sure I’d want to be real close to them in the ocean.  We’ve petted rays at aquariums before, and they are like wet velvet – so soft.

    • Oh I know!!! Our aquarium has a tank where the rays know to swim up and get a pet – and they like it! They feel so neat – I thought about that when they came at us. It was as if they wanted to be pet.

  • Wow! That reminds me of Stingray City in the Cayman Islands, where you CAN swim with them. Are these guys different?

    • Margaret, that is a great question… when I got back to work I told a friend of mine about it and he said they won’t hurt you. They aren’t sting rays but they are rays nonetheless – If one accidentally put that sharp tail thing in you, that could kill you… but what are the chances of that? (Hmmm thinking of Steve Irwin now… perhaps that was a bad question!) We did go back in, but only stayed up to our waists just in case we had to make a quick getaway. But they really were beautiful…

  • So totally awesome! 🙂

    • I know you saw the vid on obxdunes too, sorry! But I just had to share… they were so beautiful. Oh guess what I saw today… two small birds chasing a red tail hawk.. so cool!

  • What a beautiful beach and a wonderful place to spend the summer.  I hope the rays find another home soon.

    • You know what Anne, my mom and I were pondering… usually the water isn’t clear – sooo… we may have been swimming with them this whole time? AHHHH!!!!!

  • I dream of white sand beaches and palm trees. The rays have never been in the picture though.

    • We have seen a small ray or two swimming in the shallows… BUT… NEVER huge ones… it was amazing but a bit scary. I didn’t realize they swim in sync.. amazing!

  • Nelson’s Mama

    I’ve seen them like that in the surf on the Gulf side.  The rays were much smaller, however they were in large schools (10-20) and the waves would throw them up on the sand even.  They were there several days and fascinating to watch!

    • Oh wow, that sounds amazing to see! Did anyone try to put the ones on the beach back in the water? The three in the video were caught in a small, shallow pool. There was a place they could use to get back to the ocean, but it took a while for them to find it. All of us were cheering for the rays and were so glad they made it back!

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  • Amazing ! Far Away from beach but whenever get time I go there with my kids 🙂

  • Excellent!
    Great article, I already saved it to my favourite,

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