Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Fish Tale

Public Service Announcement:  I reformat my SD card every time I download photos to my computer. After our trip to Ocean City, I accidentally did the reformat before I had downloaded the photos. I was so angry with myself. All those precious photos gone! Today I decided to google it to see if there was any way to retrieve them - a $39.95 software download from a company called Card Recovery and a few quick steps later - all those precious photos are back!  Just in case any of you ever accidentally reformat your SD card...

And now, on to my Fish Tale...

On the first morning at Ocean City, Deanna and I were up and out the door by 6:30 a.m., expensive cameras in hand (my Canon 60D, her Nikon), to walk the beach and take photos.  We didn't make it far when a woman called out that if we wanted a good photo opp there was a stingray stranded by the jetty.

First you have to understand that Deanna will tell you she likes animals more than people.  And she's a nurse, so she has a lot of sympathy for injured creatures.  And she's a scuba diver - she has been swimming with sharks and stingrays before. So she was a bit incensed that this woman was suggesting that a stranded fish was a good photo opp.

We walked over to the jetty where 3 or 4 people were milling around getting photos of the stingray and chasing it into even further shallows than it was already in. Nobody was making any attempt to save the poor thing.  We could immediately see that it had been scraped up quite a bit from being buffeted against the rocks. And it had no way to get back to the ocean as the tide had gone out, leaving bits of sand bars where there wasn't enough water for it to get over.

Deanna suggested we start from the other direction and walk behind it to force it back toward the ocean. So Deanna and I started shuffling through shin deep water and the stingray started moving back in the proper direction. Until we hit the first sand bar and the stingray wanted to turn around. The only way to keep it moving in the right direction was to literally push its fins over the sand bar. Deanna was holding the tail so it wouldn't sting.

This was at about the half-way point of the jetty and the first area where the water was too shallow to allow forward movement.  After the first few pushes, pink shirt lady jumped in to help (up til then she had just been taking photos).

I was juggling two expensive cameras and carrying my flip flops and Deanna's shoes, so I stepped back for a minute to get these shots.

 It was at this point that older guy on a bike stops by and says "Are you herding a stingray?"  Well yes, if we don't get it out of these shallows it will die.  And someone behind us says "Aren't you worried about getting stung?"  Um YES, but that is why every time we have to touch it Deanna is holding the tail!

And then bike guy wants to know aren't we worried about the cameras?  Well yes.  But we still want to help this poor creature. You know, priorities.  Once we got past this jutting out rock, pink shirt and bike guy stepped back and Deanna and I continued to herd and lift.  See how far up the next group of sticking out rocks is???

Well, it was when we finally got the sting ray that far that the water was deep enough for it to swim around the end of the jetty and out into the open ocean.  It took awhile before the poor thing was able to swim past the breaking waves. I imagine it was exhausted from being chased around the shallows of the jetty by camera wielding humans.  (I think the blobs in the foreground of several of these photos are my flip flops... too much stuff in my hands!!)

So that is how we began an amazing day at the shore. I actually touched a wild stingray! More than once!


Sian said...

You did it! What a cool story this is. You saved the poor thing and you have a lovely shared memory too

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

Oh wow, good for you two. I would like to think I'd have been as brave. Pleased you managed to retrieve your photos too :-)

debs14 said...

There's a lot in the news at the moment about how some humans treat animals so this is a refreshing post to see how they are not just 'photo opportunities' but real, living creatures. How great that you and your sister were able to coax him out of the shallows and back where he was safe.
And how great that you managed to recover your photos!

Melissa said...

Wow, what a story! As soon as you started it, I had a feeling Deanna was going to want to help it . . . and I've never even met her. LOL So glad you were able to recover the photos!

Barbara Eads said...

My granddaughter who is much like Deanna in that she loves animals---more than people---will love this story. Although you may have proved that to prevent being stung all you have to do is hold up the tail, I doubt I will be trying it!

Carola Bartz said...

Wonderful that you saved this beautiful creature! I love stingrays, and I'm so grateful that you did the right thing. Sometimes it really makes me speechless what people can say! Thank you for doing this!

Missus Wookie said...

Glad the story had a happy ending and that you were able to help.