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Hector’s Encounter with a Stingray!

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

This is a tale of how Hector came to be the proud owner of a stingray barb piece of art...

Summer 2019/2020 we were based in my childhood playground, the Bay of Islands.

Lucky for us, my sister and mum are based in this amazing slice of paradise, so having a land base and family support was a blessing. While we are transiting sea gypsies, we do try to establish a sense of community when we put our anchor down.

Meeting like minded families along the way has enhanced our journey and one such

family is Kylie, Mike, Seb and Lilly in Opua.

Full of enthusiasm and passion for life, this family strives to strengthen their family ‘team’, continually seeking out challenges and adventures in the great outdoors.

"We felt super lucky to meet them and share some fun times. One play date in particular will certainly be remembered for a very long time.."

It was a Saturday afternoon when the children were together, mucking about on the water’s edge. A typical ‘famous five’ afternoon. Hector and Seb took the challenge of

heading into the sea for a dip.

Carefully and quietly walking out towards deeper water, Hector suddenly stepped onto something sharp. The water was murky and the bottom a mix of sand and mud. The pain was severe, and with Jessica’s help, Hector hobbled to the shore to investigate

what was now lodged in his foot.

After a team talk it was decided that someone was to run home to get dad (Mike) to

assess the situation.

Was it a sharp shell? Perhaps a stick? Hector remained super brave with the pain which was now intensifying. With Mike’s assessment of the object now protruding from the inner arch of Hectors foot, and the discomfort Hector was experiencing,

it was off to the local hospital to get some medical help.

At the Hospital

Here doctors were also miffed as to what exactly the object was. Hector was given pain relief and the hospital staff worked to remove the mystery object. One of the nurses sent a photo of the object to her husband- a fisherman who confirmed it was a stingray barb.

Later upon reflecting, Hector had thought it may have been a stingray that he had surprised.

When under threat, Stingray raise their barb so that it is perpendicular to the tai. Hector must have stood on this. The barb is lined with tiny serrated edges and covered in venomous mucus.

Thanks to the great work of the doctors, the wound was irrigated and flushed to remove as much of the mucus and fragments as possible. A treatment of antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection and of course weeks of ‘foot –up’ rest ensured quick recovery.

Stingray are beautiful sea creatures, to be respected and admired. The children reviewed their water fun that day, and now make sure they enter the sea making as much splashing and noise as possible. There is a known ‘stingray shuffle’ that is recommended which ensures the sea bed is stirred up and creatures such as stingray are given as much notice as possible of others coming into enjoy the under water world.

Luckily this stingray will still live on, just with a very short barb!

We are grateful for Mike and his quick actions, and fabulous photo’s recording this event.

Hector has been super lucky to have a very talented friend Rina, a jewelery designer who has turned this creature’s weapon of defense into a work of art.

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