It’s not unusual to see heartwarming tales of humans interacting with animal companions.
We share this world with many wonderful creatures, and over the centuries we’ve domesticated a fair few of them. Cats, dogs, horses, chickens… the list of animals that tend to now mostly live side-by-side humans goes on.
So how about manta rays?
Got your attention? Good… because the story I’m about to tell you is worthy of just that!
As per reports, an extraordinary bond played out between a young boy and a gigantic manta ray some years ago on the shores of Vueltas, located in La Gomera, in the Canary Island.
The area in question is said to be a haven for marine life, including massive rays and colorful fish that can thrive in its waters and often swim close to the harbor.
One particular local wharf became the scene of the most unlikely of friendships, thanks in no small part to the old tradition of fishermen throwing their bycatch into the sea at day’s end.
The result was a large number of rays regularly coming closer to the shore than they might otherwise have.
And it was this strange-to-the-outside-eye phenomenon that facilitated the meeting of a local boy, Joel, and an especially large manta ray. Incredible footage shows the ray swimming right up to a set of stone steps to eat catch from Joel’s hand!
We’re not joking. As per reports, the ray in question used to frequent the harbor every morning for a chance to feed from Joel’s palm.
Joel, meanwhile, developed a special way of attracting his friend’s attention. And when the ray surfaced, the boy would pat his head, unafraid of this deep-sea diver from a watery world.
The video of Joel and his manta ray friend was taken posted on YouTube in 2013. At the time of writing, it has acquired some 59 million views!