Sting rays in Moorea
12 August 2007 | Moorea
This morning, for the second time, we took the dinghy down to a shallow sandy shoal not too far from where we are anchored in Baie de Opunohu on Moorea. On this shoal lives about 12 large sting rays that have become so used to people that they will eat fish out of your hand, and they actually like to have their back scratched. In fact they like it so much that they gather around your dinghy as soon as you anchor. When you jump into the 4ft deep water they crawl up your body with their heads out of the water trying to get food. It takes a little to get used to, but is an absolutely amazing experience.
Malou loves these rays. Since we live on the water we do not have squirrel and deer in the backyard, so Malou's friends are creatures of the sea like fishies and dolphins. She thinks these rays are so cute and soft, which they really are. She calls them all Mr. Ray like the teacher in Finding Nemo. She is a very brave girl.
So, that is all warm and fuzzy and cute. But when you have feed the rays for a little while the reef sharks show up. Now, if it took a few minutes to warm up to the rays, it takes a little longer to get comfortable with 5 or 6 sharks swimming around you. Fortunately, and the only reason that this works, these sharks are black tip reef sharks which are not aggressive, and they are very shy, and thankfully do not wiggle them self up your chest. Never the less, it sharpens your senses when these guys are in the neighborhood. But it is very cool to be snorkeling with large sting rays and a couple of sharks cruising along a few feet from you. They even have the funny sucker fish mooching off them, attached to their belly.
Here are the photos. Curtesy of our friends at s/v Tuscany