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Bonkers but true stingray encounter!

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

Yesterday at Motiti Island, while searching for a spot to burley for snapper, I saw the biggest stingray I’ve ever seen, it had 2+ metre disc width.


SHIT THAT'S A BIG STINGRAY


I grabbed my Go Pro to film her but my battery was dead!! So I burley'd up about 50m from where I’d seen the stingray, then swam back, a loooong way to the boat to get my spare battery in the hope of capturing her mammoth existence on film.


BACK TO SNAPPER HUNTING


She wasn’t there when I got back, so I carried on and checked the berley and there were three decent snapper on it.


I’m good at enticing snapper, but terrible at shooting them so I intentionally took a few extra deep breaths to calm myself, then dove down & chillaxedly shot the biggest one.


YEY, I SHOT A GOOD SNAPPER!


It felt like a good shot and I saw him thrashing around on the end of my spear for a couple of seconds, I was stoked!


WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED??


THEN out of nowhere the giant stingray swoops in, giving me a HELL of a fright and envelops the snapper into its wings like it was giving it a big hug!!! And that’s the last I saw of the snapper?!


She impaled herself on my spear and the mono line is pulled right through and tangled. You can see the damage the snapper did thrashing around, there is a 14cm gash in her wing. Oh dear. What a mess.

HOLY CRAP THE STINGRAY IS CAUGHT ON MY SPEAR


Then the stingray starts thrashing around and my gun is pulling out of my hands and I realise she has impaled herself through her wing on my spear and is in a mad frenzy trying to free herself. And her thrashing has meant she’s ripped her wing 😭. She’s such a big unit that as she swims away she drags my gun and my float boat.


I DON'T WANT TO HURT HER!


My main concern is that she doesn’t get any more hurt, so I swim alongside her holding my gun so the tension doesn’t pull on her gash, but she calmed down a lot, enough for me to start thinking clearly about what TF to do!


BUT I ALSO DON'T WANT TO CUT MY LINE


My first inclination was to cut my mono (the line that connects the spear to the gun) & would free her. It would also mean that my spearfishing for the day was over at 8.30am.


But she was much calmer now and just trying to swim away…but if she was scared or hurting herself I would have absolutely cut the line.


CALMLY CALMLY HELP HER OUT


But instead we swam side by side for a while as I tried to figure out how I could extract the spear. Then the spear got stuck in a rock and she starts tugging, trying to keep moving so I dove down and freed it. And I swear that when she felt the tension free up she understood that I was trying to help her.


TRUST


So next thing she stops and rests herself on a rock, with me so close I can touch her, and allowed me to untangle the mono and pull the mono line and spear out through her gash.


SHE'S FREE


Then she gracefully glided away.


The stingray realised I was trying to help and let me untangle the line and pull my spear through. It was an incredible experience.

LIFELONG MEMORY


This was so, so special. I feel extremely privileged and sometimes a bit teary to have had this experience / ordeal, and I'm 100% confident she will be fine.


PROOF


Re videos: I got 2 mins 15 on film, but the saga started a minute or two before this. I've uploaded only the bits you can see the stingray. I put my go pro in a holster on my calf as I untangled her so all you can see and hear during the rest is rocks and heavy breathing.

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