View Full Version : Great White Shark---V---Manta Ray

Archie GG
8th April 2009, 06:48
The "WANDEROO" is a multi fishing boat, this is one of many stories from my book "WOW!" Tales of a Larrikin Adventurer. I've lived and worked on my boat for close to 20 years, fishing the waters North East of the North Island of
New Zealand.

It was sometime in the winter, beautiful skies and water. The morning mist was still hanging over the water. It's moments like that, you wish that life would go on forever. In the distance a school of dolphins was playing, jumping high out of the clear waters of the Pacific.

While watching all this beauty from the wheel house, and steaming along, a great majestic Manta Ray came up from the deep, just to check things out. When passing me, her small eyes were observing the boat, while still feeding her enormous body. Her double sluice before the wide elegant mouth was wide open to get the maximum load of plankton. Not often do you get a sight like this; most of the time, the waves and choppy waters prevent you seeing such a beautiful animal in motion.

She stayed with me for a long time; at times I thought she was gone, just to surface again on either side of the boat. After a trawl of 2 to 3 hours, I had to go back to work, and my mind was again concentrated on handling the boat and the gear. I must have just bout finished pulling my nets, stashing away my catch and trawl boards when a commotion drew my attention.

Something was going on just under the surface about a half mile away, the water was woolly and churning. Often when you see this it is most times big school of small fry driven to the surface by bigger fish underneath. Most times dolphins, sharks and tuna's working together in rounding them up even though they have an intense dislike for each other.

By the way it is a myth that when there are dolphins, there is no shark around. Not true, it's just who is bigger, that counts in the water. A shark is very quick to retreat if a bigger fish, either another shark, dolphin or porpoise makes its entrance. I have witnessed a band of juvenile sharks attack and devour full grown porpoise. So watch the beaches, and do not think that when you see a dolphin frolicking in the surf, that it is free of sharks, not so, believe me.

Anyway, back to this commotion. It really made me wonder what could churn up this water. So, I slowly approached the area and what I witnessed I will never forget. There is this great white about 16ft long attacking this Manta. The sea was turning red from all the blood, my thoughts went out to this lovely Manta Ray and what it must be like to be ripped to pieces by a vicious hungry white. I had stopped the boat completely and was just drifting and watching.

I took some photo's of this great fight between the two giants of the deep. Sorry to say, they went with my logbook and other papers down to the bottom when I lost the "Wanderoo". years later. Anyway, I was sure that the Manta would have to succumb to the strength and viciousness of the Great White, not so. After half an hour both were quite damaged and the Manta had a huge cut in one of her wings. What was most amazing, and what I have never seen before, and probably never will again, was the amount of other fish just swimming around the two. It seems that all of them, plus flocks of birds knew that after the great battle there would be a big party with plenty to eat for everyone.

The end came as fast as it had begun, the shark seemed to be looking around for the Manta. I thought that the Manta had most likely sunk and died. Not so, in a fury, and it seemed in a last desperate effort the Manta came up from the deep and literally flew out of the water and landed on top of the Great White.

When both became visible through all that white water, the Manta was spent and just seemed to be floating on top of the water. But the Great White's back was broken, its great dorsal fin was hanging limp, obviouly broken by the weight of the Manta and it was bleeding profusely. It seemed to be the sign for all spectators to move in and start the final episode. It was a real blood bath on the battle ground. Sad really, but then, this is nature, unforgiving and survival of the fittest.