I wake this morning to Mark standing in the camper with his arm reached across the bed, drone controller in hand, eagerly trying to show me what he’s currently filming. My eyes open but I’m groggy and can hardly focus on the small screen in front of me. I’m not a morning person and don’t like being woken up so I fail to engage. But I should know better, it must be something good for Mark to 1) get excited and 2) wake me up.
As it turns out there is a massive school of mobula rays right off the coast. They catch Mark’s eye from camp this morning as they are actively jumping out of the water. But he has no idea what he’s about to find as he flys the drone overhead. Hundreds, maybe thousands of rays. When I finally come back to life, my jaw drops at what I’m seeing on the screen.
For hours we contemplate going out on our paddleboards. In all honesty, the idea kind of freaks us out, but we can’t deny the urge to see the rays up close and with our own eyes. After a little internet research and hearing from a friend firsthand that it’s not dangerous, Mark starts assembling our boat. Next thing we know, we’re out on the water watching mobula rays jump out of the water 20’ in front of us. I half gasp, half laugh every time one catches air followed by a loud belly flop. All while struggling to believe this is real life.
It’s a cloudy day and the reflection of the textured sky is preventing us from seeing the school that is likely right beneath us. After seeing the drone footage, it’s giving me chills to think that thousands of these graceful sea creatures are swimming a few feet from where I’m sitting. We were planning on heading north tomorrow but that plan was quickly tossed to the side when we saw sun in the forecast. We can’t wait to get back out on the water for another fix of what was one of the most magnificent sightings in nature I’ve ever experienced.
And I didn’t even get around to mentioning the sea turtles we saw. What a day.