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Perhaps for Leap Day (February 29th) a meter-long Devil ray (probably Mobula kuhlii) leapt on the tranquil waters of Tomini Bay to the delight of the boat crew. Its booming splash was heard underwater. These rays are smaller than the giant Manta ray (Manta birostris) but have the distinctive ?horns? and no noticeable tail.
One of Miguel?s Diving staff had an unforgettable encounter with a group of at least five of these rays. A couple of years ago here in Gorontalo, he and his uncle were using a pair of lanterns to fish at night. Their traditional canoe is just wide enough to sit in. A type of small fish that evidently these rays like was in dense schools, attracted by the light. The two men could see rays passing below them and heard the splashes all around. When the rays were no longer visible below, they lowered the anchor. Suddenly, a ray caught the anchor, towing the tiny wooden canoe. It was like being tied to a speedboat going full throttle. As they were zigzagging back and forth, the uncle yelled, ?Get the knife! Cut the rope!? They were able to cut the anchor line before being pulled underwater.
Let?s hope these beautiful creatures don?t wait another four years for their next leap!