A Hell of -Day at Sea

I live within spitting distance of the Sea of Cortez and I like to go stand-up paddle (SUP) boarding in the morning for exercise.  This morning the water was crystal clear.  For exercise reasons, I paddle backwards part of the time (It works different muscles in my arms and back).  As I am doing this I see a sting ray off to my left going the other way.  He is full grown, about 3 feet wide, and sandy brown color.  I stop to observe him, he is about 3-4 feet below the surface and just as he passes me, he looks over.  He slows down a bit and circles around toward the back tip of my SUP board, which is the way I am looking.  I very excited, but I am also stingraythinking this would not be a good time to fall into the water.  The ray comes up to within a foot of the board, seems to realize I am not a ray and swims off real fast.

I am thinking about how I am going to tell you guys about this, when I see manta rays jumping out of the water.  Normally, I would consider this very interesting and if you have not seen this, take a look at this video (The flying rays are about 20 seconds in), but today it is almost distracting.  Then I see a huge fish breach the surface of the water about 20 yards in front of me.  It occurs to me that it might be a dolphin, however we almost never see dolphins here and certainly not this close (20 yards from our beach), so I am skeptical.  I keep my eyes in the general direction where I saw the breach, and 30 seconds later the dolphin breaches again.  I paddle slowly toward it, luckily his dorsal fin is sticking out of the water most of the time.  As I track him a bunch of Mexican teenagers on the beach start humming the music to Jaws.  The dolphin does not seem to notice me and I get within 7 feet of him.  This is probably the most clearly I have ever seen a dolphin in the wild.  He finally noticed me and lazily pushed away.


“D” of the famous thriller writers DK Halling