A massive school of mobula stingrays have been filmed swimming under the Sea of Cortez by a couple from the Netherlands who assert that the astonishing sight was precisely what they hoped to witness as they visited the area.
Joost van Uffelen, 30, and Sandy van de Water encountered the stingrays while diving recently near the Isla Espirito Santa, according to Grind TV. After spending the majority of their morning photographing dolphins, the pair were taken aback by a large disturbance, as the surface of the sea was broken by the white tips of the stingrays’ wings. By the time several of the animals jumped from the water, the duo knew they were floating atop a massive school of mobula stingrays.
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Descending into the depths from their rented boat, the pair noted that visibility was hardly optimal. After a moment, however, the massive school of stingrays came into sight, as the Daily Mail reports.
“What an awesome spectacle to see! There must have been 400 of them schooling together close to the surface. Sandy entered the water as well and soon I got some nice shots from her freediving with the animals as well. We could keep close to the rays for about 5 minutes and then they were off into the deep.”
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Earlier this year, a massive stingray was caught by conservationist Jeff Corwin. As the Inquisitr previously reported, a team of fishermen were required to land the gargantuan stingray, which is thought to be the largest freshwater fish ever caught with a rod and reel. The stingray measured over 14-feet-long and eight-feet-wide, tipping the scales in excess of 800 pounds. Captured in Thailand, the giant stingray was actually a specimen that was known to researchers, who have been tracking its movements for some time.
While they may look intimidating, stingrays are actually docile sea creatures, and attacks on divers are rare. In fact, some stingrays have exhibited a remarkable level of intelligence, and researchers believe they can be trained to follow simple commands. Last year, a large manta ray even approached a group of divers, seemingly asking for their help in freeing it from an entangling net. After the divers rendered their assistance, the stingray engaged in a backflip, as if to signal its thanks to them, before moving off into the depths, unencumbered.
Content with their sighting of the massive school of mobula stingrays, van Uffelen and van de Water moved on to observe a group of bottlenose dolphins in nearby shallows before ending their excursion.
[Image: Joost van Uffelen/ Caters News Agency via the Daily Mail]