The Stingrays of Puerto Ballandra
10 May 2010 | 26 01.2'N:111 09.8'W, Puerto Ballandra, Baja, Mexico
We arrived at the well protected Puerto Ballandra in the late afternoon after a 3 hour motor from Puerto Escondido. No wind and pond like conditions on vast tracts of water made the passage hot, sticky and eerie. Summer is on the way, with water temps now 78-84 degrees. The conditions were calm enough that we took an extra 45 minutes to recalibrate the autopilot, swinging big circles out in the middle of the sea off Loreto while the Raymarine software identified and corrected a 10 degree deviation and relearned the steering characteristics of our new rudder. Arriving in the late afternoon, we set the anchor among several other boats and plopped into cockpit with a chilled glass of sun tea, taking in our surroundings.
On the horizon, just outside the entrance to the bay, we noticed a series of splashes, far enough away that the associated plopping sound was delayed by 2 seconds. A quick look through the binoculars confirmed that the stingrays were jumping, but in numbers we have never seen before. We counted 5-10 stingrays in the air at any one time, each with its own unique style of flying through the air�.. Back flips, front flips, sideways, you name it�.some even getting 6 feet out of the water in long graceful jumps. This went on for 30 minutes before our curiosity forced us to jump into our kayaks and paddle out to see if we could get a better look before they moved on.
15 minutes later we were slowly floating among the rays, who, while definitely tuned into our presence, continued their show, but with increased unpredictability. This made it hard to figure out where to point the camera for a close up shot. We settled for lots of distant shots and 1-2 decent close ups. Rina kept asking why the rays jump, and I keep saying �"because it�'s fun!�" but none of our onboard fish books explain why, and without an internet connection, it will remain a mystery to us for awhile longer. We�'ll just keep watching and imagine they are having as much fun as we are out here.