Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Wonderful Life with a Surprise

I call this post the title Wonderful Life as my second boat trip with Lorenzo brought me face to face with a giant manta ray. They look like something from pre-cambrian sea life, which Stephen Jay Gould wrote his book, Wonderful Life, about.

The giant manta must have been at least 5 meters in length if not more, swimming along the top of the ocean. Lorenzo grabbed fins and masks and he tried to get close to her.  The manta swam down only to resurface a few feet later. Then 3 passengers donned fins and masks and went in just as the manta swam beneath them.  They said they could only see a huge, dark mass. We, standing on the deck, saw the entire creature.  A giant floating sail train moving gracefully past the boat, wings in motion. Ignoring we odd things out of our element.

Soon after our giant manta disappeared, two smaller orange and green manta came by, swimming gently in a pair. Graceful as dancers.

The rays all eat plankton and a change in current bringing plankton up to the surface may have accounted for their rare appearance topside.

Earlier on the trip we again managed to see hundreds of dolphins swimming together. They were smaller than the dolphins of the previous trip, but weren't engaged in a straight out chasing hunt. Rather they were circling the fish forming a corral, with the other dolphins pushing them to the surface, so everyone could dine.  I had heard about scientists only figuring out recently that this circling was a herding strategy so it was fabulous to actually watch them doing this for well over an hour.

And where there are dolphins hunting, so are birds and other creatures.

When we first caught sight of the dolphins and drove into the centre of the leaping frenzy, suddenly Lorenzo screamed "shark!" with glee.

The young woman from New York next to me shrieked and jumped back two feet almost knocking me over.

While I was looking in the other direction a huge thrasher shark had leaped out of the water behind me.

Mantas, turtles, dolphins but alas I missed the jumping shark.


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