Saturday, May 15, 2010

160 Minutes on the Beach: Part I

Part 1: Where I and another woman save a life.

As I walk past, I notice a rock sticking up from a tidepool while another rock remains submerged. Wait a minute. Something's not right. That submerged rock looks a little too perfectly triangular.

It's a stingray! Oh no! It's beached itself and is partway out of the water. I could wade out and push it into deeper water, but images of the Crocodile Hunter flicker through my brain. I find a woman who's looking for agates just a short distance down the beach and enlist her help. She's got an agate stick and maybe we can use that to push the ray into deeper water.

So that's what we do. Well, that's what SHE does. She's the one with the stick. The ray backs up but oh no (again)! The ray simply re-beaches itself. My partner in ichthyological rescue nudges the ray's nose and hooray! the ray backs into deeper water and seems inclined to stay there.

We part ways, each of us feeling very warm and fuzzy that we, defenders of wildlife, did a good deed for the day.

Well, now that I'm home, I look up rays online. What we saw wasn't a dangerous stingray, but rather a benign skate. And apparently they bury themselves a bit into the sand as a natural activity during their day. And perhaps she was laying a sac of eggs. And maybe she was really cranky that we poked our nose (rather, an agate stick) into her little existence while she was in the throes of giving birth.

(I doubt that ANYONE giving birth would like to be bopped in the nose mid-contraction. As if things weren't uncomfortable enough!)

So here you see the ray as it's making its second foray into shallower water. And here you see my well-intentioned stranger-friend encouraging the ray to stay in deeper water by using her agate stick.

Yup, that's us. Two women annoying the hell out of nature as we go about our little lives.

More beach walk photos to follow. Uh-oh. I think I just heard a bird hit the window. I'd better go check. Maybe I'll need a stick . . .©Carol Leigh


Stephan Dietrich said...

Excellent story and images... Quite the skate! I believe you made the right choice to intervene... If nothing else, you showed you cared.

Now you know and learned something new, but I am sure that the next time you see a situation such as this, you will likely do the same (as I would and gave done as well).

Instinct... and caring enough to react, respond and do something... respectful of everything - no matter what it might be.

Carol Leigh said...

It was a good story, wasn't it?! I really worked on that one -- more than I worked on the photos! --Carol Leigh