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Reisverslag Jump for Joy
19 maart 2017
Jump for Joy
Who has watched the shark special of the BBC? We did, somewhere earlier this trip in a dirty hotel room with good internet. It’s worth it, sharks are cool!!! In this documentary were also rays, a flatfish that is part of the shark family. (and a whale shark, which we swam with in La Paz). In the documentary, they were talking about a special phenomenon with jumping rays that took place in the Baja California. WOA. We looked up where that was, but it seemed to be more south than where we were planning to go. Bummer. And we forgot about it.
Not long in the kayak, Leigh suddenly said that he thought he saw a ray jump out of the water. I didn’t believe him, but 20 minutes later a ray jumped out of the water, about 30 meters away from it, made a beautiful and gracious loop in the air, and landed with a huge splash (bommetje!). NO WAY. This was exactly like in the documentary. We thought ourselves so lucky!! We waited for a while, but nothing more happened. We paddled on.
After an hour of paddling, we thought we saw some splashes near an entrance to a cove, so we headed over. And we stayed for many hours. There were hundreds of them. These rays were not bothered by us at all, and kept on jumping their athletic jumps all around us. Why they do it, scientists don’t seem to know. Most common thoughts are: to get rid of parasites, to communicate to other rays where they are, to impress the other sex, or a way of feeding. Or all of the above?
Or, maybe they were just having fun? Cause it looked so incredibly joyful to see those guys and girls jump away. They don’t really seem to plan their jump too much, twice we had a ray jumping on the kayak. And they are pretty big, I’d say sometimes about a meter wide. Their jumps can be 2 meters high, often straight up, going for the ultimate flop when their belly hits the water, but sometimes going for a flip;180, 360 or the rare sideways flip. Some jump 5 or 6 times in a row (get your kayak out of the way!!), but mostly they seem to jump once, just outside of the group, and then head back.
A look under the kayak showed us that they swirl with hundreds at a time, so powerful that we saw a vortex on the water surface where the center of the swirling group was. It’s truly gorgeous to see these animals fly through the water, flapping their wings graciously.
According to the BBC, a group can keep it up for about 24 hours, and indeed, at night we were kept awake by recurring smashes of ray bellies on water surfaces. Locals told us that these rays occur year-round, and they don’t always aggregate or jump, and not at the same spot.
Companies don’t offer snorkeling or diving or observing to tourists as a thing, because nobody can predict their behaviour. Was it the full moon, in combination with calm weather and plenty of ray food? We don’t know, but it felt really special and joyful to have watched this acrobatic performance.
Foto's bij verslag (4)
19 maart 2017 11:03 | Door: Jan Roelof
You are truly blessed to see and experience the wonders of the, first plant, and now the animal kindom.
Reaching a goal at the end of your cycling tour is not the achievement, but the enjoyment and endurance of the trip itself is what matters. These memories will be with you for the rest of your life. Thanks for sharing this amazing story. Happy trails.
19 maart 2017 11:23 | Door: sijmentje
alweer een heel mooi verhaal van de bijzondere wereld waar jullie volop van genieten. groeten uit Hijum waar de lammetjes van schapen en geiten ons bezig houden en blij maken
19 maart 2017 15:33 | Door: Derek
21 maart 2017 20:45 | Door: Jaap
Wow, gaaf zeg!
24 maart 2017 13:58 | Door: Renny
Fantastische belevenis. Once in a lifetime
3 april 2017 13:19 | Door: Dev
Wow what an experience! I have seen a documentary on jumping rays but to see it from a kayak must have been incredible!