Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Beauty Overlooked...
Sometimes we overlook some of the most beautiful sights in nature except on those rare occasions when we are blessed by Lady Luck.
Looking like giant leaves floating in the sea thousands of Golden Rays are seen here fleeing the oncoming storm of Hurricane Ike off the coast of Mexico . The spectacular scene was captured as the magnificent creatures move toward more more agreeable waters.
Gliding silently beneath the waves they turned vast areas of blue water to gold off the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Sandra Critelli, a scientist with NOAA encountered them.
She said: 'It was an unreal image, very difficult to describe. The surface of the water was covered by warm and different shades of gold and looked like a bed of autumn leaves gently moved by the wind. ' It's hard to say exactly how many there were, but in the range of a few thousand.
'We were surrounded by them, without seeing the edge of the school, and we could see many under the water surface too. I feel very fortunate I was there in the right place at the right time to experience nature at his best.'
Measuring up to 7 ft (2.1 meters) from wing-tip to wing-tip, Golden Rays are also more prosaically known as Cow Nose Rays. They have long, pointed pectoral fins that separate into two lobes in front of their high-domed heads and give them a cow-like appearance.
Despite having poisonous stingers, they are known to be shy and non-threatening when in large schools. The population in the Gulf of Mexico is estimated to be as many as 10,000, they are swimming clockwise from western Florida to the Yucatan .
Now I am ready for a fresh cup of coffee...another one of nature's beautiful things. How about you?