The crickets chatter relentlessly as the moonlight dances off the ocean waves. The dripping heat of the Mexican sun gradually fades in the darkness. We lay wide eyed on top of sleeping bags. Perhaps the Sea of Cortez dolphins and rays that jumped from the ocean to greet us on this first day of kayaking were just a dream. Or a hallucination from the blazing force of the sun reflecting off waves.
Through the unzipped flaps of our tent we watch the stars dazzle and shoot above. With no other light in competition, the celestial sky mesmerizes the beach campers with its galactic show. We feel giddy at the memory of paddling into a giant treasure chest of life experience here on the shores of the Baja peninsula.
As two bottlenose dolphins rise and fall parallel to our string of boats, we are transfixed. Typically we would juggle for assorted photography equipment. With eyes glued on the sleek graceful pair our cameras remain tucked in dry bags.
Here south of Agua Verde on the Baja peninsula, the sea sees very few human visitors. Surely the dolphins must be curious at the psychedelic groups of oversized paddling pals in their sea.
As the osprey circle above the dolphins vanish. Peering into the glass like water we yearn for another glimpse. Suddenly, as if an underwater giant has taken up juggling, dinner plate size beings fly skyward out of the water.
The dolphin sighting left us paralyzed with awe. The Mobula Rays leaping left us in a catatonic state of disbelief.
Cousins of Manta Rays, Mobula Rays frequent the Gulf of California. Known as ‘Devil Rays’ or ‘Flying Rays the Mobulas are known for their marine acrobats. Perhaps showing off to the Sea of Cortez dolphins, the rays slapped back into the water echoing their presence.
As to why the rays jump like aquatic jack rabbits theories range. Whether they are ridding themselves of parasites or showing off for potential mates is uncertain. Paddling quietly in wonder we like to think all the leaping on our first day of kayaking is a greeting from wilderness.
Or just maybe that underwater giant is perfecting his Baja magic.
Watch a video from the BBC on the jumping Mobula Rays here.