By default of this blog’s theme, I couldn’t NOT participate in this weekly photo challenge.
But since this blog is already chock full of sea photos, this week’s challenge was a bit more, um, challenging. What could I possibly publish that was different not only from my own blog, but from the other entries?
So I did what I always do and took my camera with me yesterday and hoped for something unique to capture.
We stumbled upon some photographically interesting things such as a wedding party, a single mother trying to relax with her misbehaving children, a lonely man in his 60s and a bikini-clad girl with a message on her hindquarters.
However, I didn’t have any photography releases on my person for the subjects to sign to waive me from liability, so I had to focus on my own subjects.
A few posts ago, the subject came up about gigging sting rays. Since that post, my son had created and built his own spear gun and decided to try it out yesterday.
For you do-it-yourself-ers, he used a PVC pipe, 18 inches of surgical tubing, a pipe clamp, a slingshot frame, some wire, a filed-down steel bar and a hollow, aluminum arrow. And some fishing line.
To test it out, he waded to the edge of a sand bar before a good little drop, and went to work:
Because sting rays have been something of a nuisance this season, it didn’t take him long to locate several through his snorkel mask before he was able to zero in on his catch.
If you’re wondering how he didn’t get stung, he knows that sting rays are naturally skittish. Shuffling your feet along the sandy bottom, where they hide, causes them to swim away.
If you don’t shuffle your feet, you may step on one. This startles them and they instinctively whip their serrated tail, which causes several cuts into your skin into which it’s venom is released simultaneously. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle!
This is an Atlantic Stingray, one of several species of stingrays in the Gulf of Mexico.
Back at the homestead, our catch is now on the operating table where we carefully examine his barb.
What tadoo with a stingray, once caught?
Since my son is part Eskimo, he makes full use of the entire animal. He filleted the meat and used the carcass to feed the local armadillos and nutria.
And what of the barb? He conducted an experiment to see if the industrious fire ants in the front yard might enjoy dining on it. No, they did not, nor did their colonies, and, voilà! A new fire ant deterrent was discovered this weekend. Evidently, fire ants DO NOT like stingray venom.
Turning now to stingray cuisine, we focus now on making supper.
The not-so-secret ingredients to one of the most awesome coatings: Kentucky Kernel seasoned flour along with Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning. Famous for famous Southern fried chicken, these ingredients can turn anything into heaven.
Eager to try out his catch of the day, my son forgot the cardinal rule of Southern cooking: use the cast iron pan instead (mama gently bawled him out after this shot was taken).
It turned out delicious, anyway. Unlike alligator and many other unusual dishes which can be described as “tasting like chicken” or some other common culinary frame of reference, there was no way to describe how sting ray tasted. As he put it, “It tasted like, er, sting ray – or like a few different salt water fish-types, combined.”
Thanks, God, for giving us the incredible seas which have and give life – interdependent, without which we could not be. And bless each of the talented bloggers who glorify You in their portrayals of the sea.