Thursday, April 17, 1997

Sting Ray Chouda

Spending 6 months on a Galapagos Island, tagging Turtles does strange things to the mind. Writing articles for a spoof magazine “The Quinta Playa Gazette” helped to while away the time – as did building an English Pub out of drift wood and whale bones! This was titled “QP Angling Corner”

A technique has been developed on location at Q.P. (Quinta Playa, Isabella Island, Galapagos) for the exploitation of the relatively abundant supply of Sting Rays. This has resulted in an important addition to the Q.P.pot and has proved a valuable and nourishing source of protein.

The question of harnessing this food source has puzzled GG (Galapagos Graham) for some time, but many earlier attempts met with failure. In late March GG tragically lost the only machete at QP after plunging it deep into a ray and watching it swim out to sea. Not to be beaten a spear was then fashioned from a mangrove branch and in early April this, too, failed – being snapped in two by a particularly strong

On the 30th April (with replacement spear and Machete, (courtesy of the ‘Burro Express’) success at last arrived as the new, complex, and somewhat primitive technique was rewarded with the first Ray some 40” long and 26” wide. The technique used is fairly basic and can be carried out by any turtler of reasonable intelligence, if these few steps are followed.
1. Find a ray
2. Standing seaward of ray in shallow water, move cautiously forward
3. With legs astride to afford perfect balance and to avoid stinging tail, plunge spear home
4. Hold machete high above head and swing strongly to severe poisonous tail
5. Using club fashioned from drift wood, hammer spear home (4 & 5 can be undertaken in reverse order depending on circumstances)
6. Manoeuvre Ray shoreward being careful not to dislodge spear and allow tail-less ray to escape (they are buggers)

This technique has proved highly successful and ‘Sting Ray Chouda’ has become a favourite

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