A Manta Ray Ate My Cell Phone

Navarre Beach, Florida, Friday, May 8, 2015, 8:49 am

It was the there one minute and gone the next, I swear. My Cell phone was in my hand. Th  next thing I knew, we were getting calls from the middle of the ocean. A manta ray ate my cell phone.

If only this was true.

Actually, we swam with an entire school (scad? group? gaggle? holly? gang?) of them yesterday afternoon. They were everywhere I went, it seemed. And they were breathtakingly beautiful.

I love marine life, at heart. I always have. I find something spectacular about the way that ocean creatures are able to just swim seemingly forever. When do they sleep? There is such diversity of species, everything from the most frail-looking leafy sea dragon to the majestic blue whale, with sharks, dolphins, seals, and clown fish in between. I always wanted a saltwater fish tank as a kid, but my mom said it was too much trouble to take care of, so I had goldfish and bass (not a recommended combination) instead. I love large aquariums, where you can see the fish swimming and clowning around. Some fish are more serious than others, of course, like sharks. They always look like that guy who just got out of an all-day retreat on hand washing or the red-haired lady at my local DMV who is never ever in a good mood. Dolphins, on the other hand, look like your best pal as a kid. The pal who everyone wanted to hang out with because he was fun, the life of the party. Manta rays are kind of in between. They look pretty dang serious when they are hunting in the shallows, but when they are swimming along they become, to me anyway, the underwater birds of the ocean. So silent, so sneaky, and so sleek. Just absolutely beautiful.

I stood at the ocean’s break, watching them for over an hour yesterday afternoon. I let a couple of them get within a foot or so of my leg st one time, when I was a bit further out into  the water. They were not the huge variety, yet anyway, and the school numbered probably 50 or more. They were heard  into the surf where the small beds of kelp were washing up onto the shore. They were pretty serious when hunting, swimming much faster than  thought possible for a creative that looks like a Stealth bombers underwater. They would glide around otherwise, just making their way back to the kelp ever now and then.

I decided halfway through the day that kids in Florida might have s whole different excuse list do homework and such. I decided that Sweetie could use this when he goes back to work on Monday. “A manatee ate my homework,” “a pelican pooped on my retreat notes,” or, “a manta ray ate my Blackberry.”  That all sounds so much better than the old dog excuses we had to use.

As we sit here, enjoying the beautiful sunny weather, the folks back home apparently have storms to deal with. I’m sure we will have storms, both literally and figuratively, when we return to the real world as well. But, with with another trip to the beach planned for later this year, it gives us something  to look forward to, when the days of summer are long and boring or painful, depending on your perspective.

Until then, I will soak up more rays and enjoy our time in the sun.

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