Stingray Shuffle

You can walk to these beaches by walking north along the shore from Aliso Creek Beach, but it’s easiest to park near the Montage Resort (like on Wesley) and walk down directly in from of the hotel. Best low tides are at the full and new moons.

So there is a price to pay for warm and glassy beautiful ocean waters.

During my forest kindergarten promo class this week, a woman was stung by a stingray, and spent a good part of an hour crying and being tended to by a crowd of friends and life guards. Several hours later, I realized she was still being tended on a deck chair up on the hotel deck. (Hot water is the treatment – lots of heat on the sting) She had been swimming in the ocean directly in front of me!

I questioned the lifeguard after class, because I’d never known such a thing to happen. I hadn’t had to worry during class, because none of us were swimming (only go ankle deep during class). But I do usually swim in the ocean after class, and frankly, every chance I get. I keep a bathing suit in my trunk.

He said that when the waters warm up into the 70’s (see, I wasn’t exaggerating about the ocean’s warmth) and when the waves are exceptionally mellow, that stingrays can come in close to the shoreline. Apparently, it is mainly the surf that keeps them out.

The sting can be bad (the woman stung said her pain level was a 7 out of 10), but the lifeguard says it depends on the person and circumstances, and that some people hardly notice it at all. Stingrays ARE venomous, so a lot depends on the amount of venom that is injected. People are typically stung on their foot or ankle from inadvertently stepping on one.

So, do I need to tread water all the time now?

No, the lifeguard says that the “stingray shuffle” works well. Walk in a slow, shuffling manner, kicking the sand up in front of your feet, so the stingrays can move out of your way.

I think I’ll be doing a lot of treading…

FYI: the tidepools below the Montage Hotel are among the deepest in California. Tomorrow is a full moon and the tide will be low at 3:46 pm. Care to join me?

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