Storytime 6

beached stingray on wide tidal flat
There’s a story here, undoubtedly. I just don’t know what it is.

Here’s the backstory, though. A friend and I had traveled out to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station for an air show, but I had been disallowed to bring my cameras in by an overzealous recruit manning the gate (I was later to find out that a camera or two was fine, just not the bags – dipshit.) After the show, I followed his directions down to North Topsail Beach and the New River Inlet, the same spot as this previous entry and, much later on, we would be vacationing immediately south of. There, I did a lot of shooting which produced more than a few keepers, so at least I got that out of the day.

Way out across the sand, much farther from the water than I ever would have expected, we found a dead stingray, a big one, and its position with the curved tail seemed to express its attempt to regain the waters of the inlet, there in the distance – of course, I chose this angle both to include the water and to illustrate this distance. But I don’t know how or why it was way out there.

You see, initially I credited it to storm surge, the rise of sea level locally due to, for instance, a hurricane or tropical storm, mostly because I knew the regular tides did not flood the area. Except this was in May, well outside hurricane season (which is generally August to November.) I’m still leaning towards storm activity, but not ocean-based; instead, I suspect heavy inland storms might have raised river levels significantly from drainage, especially since there were small ponds of water not far from this spot that did not appear to be year-long in nature. This could also help explain the stranding of the ray, since the levels tend to fluctuate rapidly in such conditions.

Or, it simply could have been snagged by one of the many fisherman that frequent the area, then dragged out to this spot for dog-knows-what reason; this possibility is supported slightly by the nearby tire tracks. Except the area is always criss-crossed by tire tracks anyway because most fishermen require the support of their vehicle, not to haul back their voluminous catches, but to haul in their beer coolers, because fishing is that boring (I may be editorializing here.) Nonetheless, we should not rule out alcohol playing some part in this whole tableau.

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