Mobula Rays in Baja California Sur, Mexico

in Amazing Nature8 months ago

Every summer huge aggregations of mobula rays, also known as devil rays, (Mobula munkiana) migrate through the Sea of Cortez offering one of the most incredible snorkeling experiences on the planet.

("Jack, I'm flying!")

Back in June we took advantage of their migration and took a boat out into the Sea of Cortez in the hopes of doing some freediving and snorkeling with the rays... and we were lucky! We found a couple of small groups and one HUGE group of mobulas! We were also able to see dozens of them jumping from the surface.

(Swimming with MASSIVE schools of mobula!)

We spent two nights camped on the beach with friends and two whole days out on the water looking for and swimming with the mobula rays. We were also lucky enough to see a huge pod of dolphins and spent one of the two days on the water swimming with orcas! (which you can read about in one of my previous posts here!)

(I really should upgrade my GoPro 3)

Despite arriving like clock-work every season little is known about these aerobatic sea-pancakes. But what I can tell you is this:

  • They are the smallest in the genus mobula (which includes other rays like the oceanic manta ray) at only 1m (3ft) wide.
  • As I mentioned above, they are extremely aerobatic. They can jump up to 3m (9ft) from the water performing flips and making loud slapping sounds as they belly-flop back into the water. It's always very exciting to watch.
  • Nobody really knows why they make these aerobatic displays. Is it to attract a mate? to remove parasites? or just for fun?
  • Scuba diving with mobula rays isn't the best way to see them as the rays are scared of the bubbles caused by the diving equipment. This is because their main predator, the orca, sometimes use bubbles nets to hunt them.
  • They are extremely vulnerable to being caught as by-catch in fishing nets and trawlers.
  • It is estimated that mobula Rays give birth to only one pup every 3-5 years, making them susceptible to becoming endangered (they are currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List)
  • Unfortunately not much else in known about them. We don't know how long they live for, or what age they become mature adults; why they jump or what their migration patterns are etc, making it hard to create effective protection for them.

Thankfully there are many organizations (such as @pelagioskakunja) working hard in Baja to research more about these fascinating creatures.

(Our beautiful beachside campsite)

We have been extremely lucky during our adventures in Baja California Sur and I am so grateful for it. We have seen some amazing thing with some amazing new friends. I can't wait to see what else the Sea of Cortez has to offer us!

(A calm morning on the water - perfect for snorkeling!)

All images in this post were taken by and remain the Copyright of Bree Plater unless stated otherwise.

You can see more photos at:
Instagram: @roaming.rammie and @saultphotography
Twitter: @sault_photo

If you'd like to learn a bit more about the photography featured on our page you can read an interview with did with Photofeed here.


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