I was extremely surprised to see this story about the Michigan woman who was killed when a Spotted Eagle Ray jumped out of the water and collided with her in her boat.
One of the routine joys of our yearly vacation has been to watch the several Spotted Eagle Rays who cruise the stretch of beach in front of the place we stay. I couldn't even count how often we've grabbed our snorkel gear and dashed down to the beach to see if we could actually swim with them.
"Our" rays are quite beautiful and very used to people. These particular rays are not aggressive, even though they do use their tail barbs in defense. I've been able to swim near them, always keeping a proper distance so as not to alarm them.
While snorkeling this year, I saw the one pictured here. I got several pictures, but even with the Spotted Eagle Ray slowly (for him) gliding around the reef, I couldn't keep up.
It's hard to tell the size from this photo, but this ray was about 5-6 feet wingtip to wingtip.
We've also seen them jump, as the one in Floriday did, but we were either anchored or quite a distance from them at the time. I can certainly imagine the shock of the people on the boat when this happened and my prayers are with the family and friends of Judy Kay Zagorski.