They are coming close to shore:
The story talks about people getting stung, but Manta Rays don't have a stinging barb in their tail so are they mistaking stingrays for Manta's. Manta Ray's actually like interaction with people out in the wild.
crave is correct, Mazatlan Messenger has the wrong species of Ray here. A Manta can be huge with a wingspan of 7 meters (23 feet). In addition to being no real threat, they are possibly the most graceful animal you could ever see in the ocean...or out. It's a shame such a peaceful creature was mistakenly identified as a danger.
Mantas have a tendency to lull near the bottom in the warmest water areas, and barely move their wing tips to maintain position. Their upper side is near black, while the bottom in white. So you may only notice one is near you when it curls up the tip of it's wing and you see a spread flash of white. The distance between the spread can give you an indication of the total wingspan.
On their grace, I will never, ever forget surfing with only one other friend outside of Maz many years ago. We were both paddling back out after riding waves to the inside on a small day. Surprisingly a big wave came in out of nowhere and started cresting outside. We were speechless and amazed as a huge Manta Ray suddenly appeared and literally "flew" it's way down the line just like good surfer would.
Not one inch of the Manta extruded from the water, and not one drop was displaced as it elegantly moved across the wave perfectly framed inside the pyramid shape of the unbroken part of the swell. Just as a Pelican rides the rising air above a wave without moving it's wings, the Manta never moved a muscle.
As the wave finished and it had disappeared again, I stammered "did you see THAT??" All my fruind could get out was "yes." Neither one of us spoke again until we got home and told our wives.
I've seen seals and especially Dolphins surf waves, and plenty of wales with one breaching more than half it's length out of water just outside the wave zone. However never before or since have I seen a Manta fly across a wave. To say it was breathtaking and stunning would still not be an adequate description.
The only way you can be injured by a manta ray would be for it to jump out of the water and land on you. There was such an incident off Baja with a kayaker. Doubt it was an attack. Mantas do jump in what is believed an attempt to dislodge parasites. The danger is from sting rays. Much smaller. They have a barb at the base of their tail. Rays will lie buried in the sand, often in shallow water. If stepped upon they will use the sting in an instinctive manner to defend themselves. When entering the water, shuffle your feet. The vibration scares them away. If stung the barb can contain a toxin. Submerge the limb in as hot water as you can stand. The heat numbs and neutralizes the toxin. Supposedly a few drops of ammonia in the water helps. It is possible for part of the barb to breakoff in the wound. Also in some cases the barb will have a fleshy coat that can be left in the wound. See a doctor to get it cleaned and prevent secondary infection.
likely bat rays. I've seen them very close in in the winter months.
Very cool story, AguaMaz!
Maz, very well said. One of my highlights when snorkeling over the years was in April of 1984. I was with my brother and we were in the lagoon of Bora Bora in the south pacific. We were cruising along a wall of coral when I had that feeling of being followed. Sure enough I looked back and there was a Manta, about 8-10 feet from tip to tip and gliding along about 20 feet behind us. My brother was in front of me and did not know it was there. I kicked hard, caught him, and had him turn around. We were in awe as the Manta pulled up along side us and about 20 feet away to our left. I tried to swim toward it and with no more than two quick flaps he shot off in to deeper water. This is something I have never forgotten. These truly are beautiful creatures. I have also seen them jumping out of the water at Bora Bora and doing graceful flips in front of the dock at the hotel we used to frequent.
Well I just got out of the ER, and the Doc said more then twice it was a Manta Ray. That being said, I even had booties on, and the pain was too much to deal with. Glad I went to The ER,, even if it was almost $200. They injected pain med into my foot, put me on IV,, one sugar water, one med,,,and I feel like night and day. Looks like I will be skiing next weekend in Utah.
This is very interesting. Our condo is on Cerritos beach and we are on the 12th floor. I see them come right in almost beached. They look so graceful and seem to like to be in the sand. I would like to know if they are Sting, Manta or Bat??
A LOT of people misidentify Manta Ray's asSting Ray's. Manta Ray's do NOT sting no matter hat anyone says. They have no stinger. They look the same except that Mantas grow much larger. Manta's stay in deeper water, stinger's come right up to shore.
We were in Huatulco one time and out fishing....about a mile or two from shore we found ourselves in amongst a large group of some kind of eagle rays (possibly mantas, not sure)....they were leaping at least ten feet out of the water, and there were dozens of them...a sight I will never forget!