The guy I was diving with wanted to feed the rays and the shovel nose shark which can be tricky. They were doing a cleanse last week and so the animals hadn’t been fed for a week and were really hungry and they can all be very aggressive when they’re hungry. He is supposed to kneel down and have the animals come to him and the other diver and I have PVC pipe to push away the nurse shark and other animals. But it didn’t work that way. He never got to kneel down before the rays were all over him going after the food (squids). They were even attacking the clear canister holding the food. We were keeping the nurse sharks away but he couldn’t handle the rays.
All of a sudden he thrusts the food into my hand and grabs my PVC pipe and traded places with me. In an instant I have 4 rays and a shovel nose shark circling and bumping into me wanting to be fed. I’m trying to grab a squid with one hand and push away a slimy floppy ray with the other hand and duck my head from getting bit. I loved the challenge until one of the rays decided to chomp down on my thigh. Man that hurt and I couldn’t shake him off. Just then the nurse shark moved in to grab my squid and had to be pushed away. The shovel nose grabbed at my hand with the food in it and got a piece of my fingers. I didn’t have any chain mail because I didn’t start out feeding so I felt the sting. Then the lady diver accidently kicked me in the head with her flipper trying to man handle the nurse shark. But the ray let go of my leg….I don’t think neoprene rubber tastes all that good, and things settled down for the rest of the feeding. I love all the action.
The exhibit also had just brought in 6 new baby moray eels and they lived on the eel wall. Feeding them was also a ball. They were spotted and green and cute and cuddly. Well maybe not cuddly. But I had a great time hand feeding the babies and avoided getting bit as they slithered and snapped their jaws to grab the tiny minnows. It took a long time to do the feeding but it was a relaxing calming experience after the rays. But holding and feeding Charlie is still way better.