Saturday, September 20, 2014

Two Little Stories of the Big 2

Greetings everyone. As always, I hope all is well. Before I get started here I just want to say that I am finally 100% rid of the spam bots and what not that have been spamming comments on this blog. I've done more than enough deleting trying to keep everything on topic and not going on about ways to enhance your love life and what to do with certain illnesses. So with those out of the way, let's get going! Today's blog is about two different incidents that have happened over the course of the past month. Strangely, each incident involves a species of animal that is far, far beyond the size of a human and well.... a human! The first little story involves the manta ray.

The location of this incident was off of Bat Island in Costa Rica. Two divers were in the water and had either approached or were approached by a massive manta ray. Whichever way it happened, the animal did not swim away from the humans and allowed them to approach. The divers noticed that the ray had a large amount of fishing line tangled around it. If the line was allowed to remain on the ray it could do serious damage as it slowly cut into the animals and could have even potentially killed it. This ray though was either very lucky or very smart. One thing for sure is that this ray was very trustworthy of the two divers. The divers quickly went to work on freeing the gentle giant that had apparently slowed it's swimming to allow the divers to free it from the fishing line. Mr. Brian Thompson of Canada freed the animal who is now swimming somewhere with no fishing line attached to it! I'd like to say a big thank you and congrats to you Mr. Thompson for aiding this gentle giant!

This next little story I find to be a bit more humorous. The media reaction to this story is also quite comical. First off, we all know how the media reacts whenever something takes place between a shark and a human. Terror! Fear! Attack! Teeth! are all words that we see the media use in relation to sharks. Well this is another one of those stories. Media sites have been using the words terror, and... ready for this now.... Whale Shark Attack to describe this story. Yes ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, some people are calling this a whale shark attack... Anyway the story is that a pair of divers were spear fishing off of Ascension Island in the South Atlantic when a whale shark ran right into one of the divers and the proceeded to grab hold of the bag of fish the other diver was carrying. The diver that got hit proceeds to scream in terror as if  death itself were staring him in the face. meanwhile, the whale shark just keeps swimming along like nothing happened. The divers were not hurt and after the video had apparently decided to swim with the whale shark for a little bit. Must have been a bit of a shocking experience to turn around and see a whale shark literally in your lap, but the screaming in fear over it gets me every time!


So what do either of these stories have to do with this blog? It's simple really. Both of these videos show me something. The manta ray willingly allowed the humans to come up to it and free it from the fishing line without panic or swimming away. Even after it was free, it was in no rush to leave and seemed to largely hang around until the video ended. We know so little about manta rays its really a wonder as to whether or not that animal knew that the divers would help it. Could it have come in contact with people before? Given it's location, it probably had, and given it's location, it probably has had no bad experiences with divers and I'd even go out on a limb and say that there was a sort of either respect or trust on the part of the manta towards the humans. We have virtually no idea how smart manta rays truly are and with all the sad things we hear about them being hunted down for their gill rakers, it's nice to see people helping them out. Fishing line can do so, so much damage to any kind of marine life. That my friends, is one very lucky manta ray and a diver that should be very proud of himself.

The whale shark story really tells a simple lesson. Do not be in the way of a whale shark and it's snack. They will not move to avoid the little 100+lb human when they weigh over a ton. At the same time though, they will not attack a human either. The whale shark literally swam into the person like he wasn't even there and the diver was uninjured. I do worry a little bit about this story being taken out of proportion as the incident happened in August, but over the past few days it has really started to blow u with news headlines sighting an attack or a ramming or some other form of violence on the part of the animal. No folks, this was not a whale shark version of Jaws. This was simply an animal with one thing on it's mind at the time. That one thing was getting that bag o' fish that was drifting just out of reach. If I was that big and someone put a bowl of ice cream in front of me, I'm pretty sure I'd run into whatever I had to too. Please everyone reading, do not look into this story as an attack. It wasn't.

So those are the two little stories about the big 2. The next blog I do, barring something pressing happening, will be a blog about mako sharks. As a tiny preview I'll give you this...
The shortfin mako shark is the world's fastest shark. They are capable of reaching speeds of (find out later)mph and can leap over (find out later)feet into the air. They are one of the most beautiful species of shark on our planet, but like so many others, they are in serious trouble and now extinction is beginning to loom over them. Tune in next blog to learn more about this species of shark and just what is happening to them, in particular off the coast of New Jersey. Till next time!

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