Why do stingrays jump out of the water?

Recently I was looking out over the Biscayne Bay towards Monument Island, daydreaming of when I’d be able to open water swim to it.

It looks like this…

In these waters, around the sailboats, I saw a giant stingray jump out of the water, multiple times. I’m used to seeing dolphins, manatees, and even sharks swimming through this path, but I have never seen a stringray jump out of the water.

As if this goal of swimming across the Bay to Monument island wasn’t already scary enough — the distance, the sharks, I now face these flying, stinging sea creatures in my path to glory.

Every night I look at Monument Island like Atreyu from Neverending Story as he approaches the Spinxes’ Gate.

How can I be more confident to go for it?

Step one — get a friend with a boat/jetski to ride along side me, who also has a Moby Dick spear to take care of any sharks that decide to get at me Mick Fanning style.

Step two — learn more about stingrays, and if they’re even a threat.

I’ve been on a stingray tour and held them in Mexico, it was a cool experience, but I felt like they were tame touristy stingrays that were comfortable with people coming up and holding them.

Steve Erwin was killed by a stingray, shouldn’t I be worried? He was stabbed in the heart, by a stingray in the Great Barrier Reef. A guy in Fort Lauderdale was stung by a stingray in the heart in the same year. The article says that it’s super rare to get stung, and that these two incidents are a fluke. It seems like the scientists don’t really know why these animals are flying around, some say to shake off parasites, look for food, some theorize that it’s for a love of life.

Michael Goldstein a 20 year old surfer from Palm Beach got stung by a sting ray last year, and he’s doing fine.

As I kept digging into resources and stories of things found in the Biscayne Bay, a 9 foot python was discovered in 2016 slithering near Southwest Eighth Street and 135th Avenue …

How to overcome open water fear of animals? Luckily, there’s a reddit thread to help that says to get a wetsuit, build confidence by doing, and go with someone.

Another article I found shares how Navy Seals and Ironman triathletes have overcome the anxiety with open water swimming — the main idea here, is baby steps.

Maybe a little scuba diving can help. Maybe a visit to the aquarium will calm my nerves. Maybe just talking about it, being aware and prepared for anything will help me be more confident in this open water endeavor.

So why do stingrays jump out of the water? I’m going with the fun theory — that they want to get out and enjoy the world. This theory will help me swim past them with confidence, even if that confidence consists of a knife strapped to my leg.