Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 213

Manta Rays


Hello Everyone



As you know, l live in the middle of the sea.  The waves lap or crash around my home constantly and underneath them is a huge number of creatures that call the sea their home.


lt is only when you dive under the sea that you can see the enormous wealth of life that is there for yourself.


l have talked about many sea creatures in my blog posts but l thought l would take time to tell you today about one of the most graceful and intelligent of them all.


lf you have ever been to a sea life centre, you have probably spent some time at the side of a large, shallow tank of rays.  They lift the tips of their wings out of the water and it looks as if they are waving to you.


Sometimes, they flip up the sides of the tank as though they would like to make friends. 


Some of them slide up the sides of the tank towards you almost as if they want to give you a kiss!


lf the sea life centre has any large rays, they will be put in much larger tanks – because they are so enormously big.


Reef mantas can be as big as a person.  The giant mantas can have a wing span of seven and half metres!


These beautiful sea creatures love to interact with divers as they are so inquisitive.  For their size, they have the largest brain of any fish.


But because of unregulated fishing and their use in Chinese medicine their numbers are crashing around the world to the extent that they are being classed as vulnerable to extinction.


The females only have one baby every two to three years.  This baby is called a pup. So when mantas are killed for whatever reason, their numbers cannot be quickly replaced.


These large mantas are thought to be evolved from stingrays.  This is because the giant mantas still have the remnants of a stinging barb located on their backs.


They have the most enormous gaping mouths and when you look into them, the whole creature looks empty inside.  These mouths have evolved to scoop up their food – which is plankton.  The sea water goes into their mouth and is filtered out through grill-like structures in the gills under their bodies.  These filters are called gill rakes.


The seawater comes out of these gills but the food stays inside the manta.


There is a fin each side of a manta’s mouth which can be positioned to help scoop food into the mouth.  These large mantas can eat up to seventeen kilos of plankton a day.


They feed in open water but often swim around reefs too.


lf you ever go to the Maldives, you will be able to see the biggest congregations of mantas in the world as they swarm around the reefs there.


Often the mantas are attacked by sharks; leaving terrible scars on them.


But the mantas have a clever way of dealing with this problem.  They make their way to a reef where various fish, like butterfly fish and sergeant major damsel fish, clean their wounds by nibbling away the dead skin.  This prevents infection.


At these ‘cleaning stations’ on the reef, other animals like turtles and eels wait around for the little fish to clean them too.


But as evening approaches and the sharks that feed around the reefs become more active, the mantas head for open sea once more.


Manta rays are thought to be great ocean wanderers, travelling many miles across the sea.


Scientists continue to study the migrating habits of these magnificent animals.



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.


Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill: What do you get if you cross a fish with a master criminal? 


Bob: l don’t know Bill.  What do you get when you cross a fish with a master criminal?


Bill: The Codfather!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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Picture Gallery


This picture shows how big manta rays can be


When you look into their mouths they look empty inside


The shape of the rays against the sunlight coming from above


Butterfly fish


Sergeant major damsel fish








This week Auntie Alice made the children a fishing game.



They put all the fish on the floor and put four armchairs together with the backs facing the fish.

The fish were on the floor and the children had to fish for them without getting off the chairs.  They had short rods made of garden canes with string tied to the ends.

Each fish had a number on it and when all the fish were caught the person with the highest number won the game.

You could make your own fishing game making fish out of felt with a stretched paperclip at the end of each piece of string to create hooks.

Or you could knit fish instead.  You could have different-coloured ones or striped ones using tiny left-over lengths of yarn.






Using 4mm knitting needles and dk yarn cast on 20 stitches

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Knit 12 rows of garter stitch decreasing 1 stitch at the beginning of each row (8sts)



Pull the yarn tight after you have knitted two stitches together at the beginning of the row


Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch

Knit 10 rows of stocking stitch increasing 1 stitch at the beginning of each row (18sts)

Knit 10 rows of stocking stitch

Knit 10 rows in stocking stitch decreasing 1 stitch at the beginning of each row (8sts)

Knit 3 rows of stocking stitch decreasing 1 stitch at each end of each row (2sts)

Knit 2 stitches together

Cast off




Embroider a number onto the side of the fish

Sew the body of the fish together with right sides together using over-sew stitching (the stocking stitch part)

Turn right side out

Slightly stuff

Sew across the base of tail

Sew around the tail wrong sides together using over-sew stitching

Crochet 20 chains into a length of yarn and tie the ends into the snout of the fish to create a loop


If you play a game with sticks, make sure you don’t poke someone with your rod, you could pad the ends of your rods to keep them safer!








Quick Quiz


What do these idioms mean?


  1. There are plenty more fish in the sea
  2. Fishing for compliments
  3. Something fishy going on
  4. To be hooked
  5. To be a catch






lt’s the Weekend!




These accessories can be made out of really tiny amounts of yarn that are left over from making other things.

You can make them in the same colour or different colours to take items to match different outfits that you already have for your doll.

They are perfect for a shopping trip or an outing on chilly spring day.



Using 4mm knitting needles and dk yarn cast on 11 stitches

Slip 1 k1 p1 k1 p1 k1 p1 k1 p1 k1 p1

Repeat this last row 13 times (14 rows of moss stitch)

Cast off



Using over-sew stitching and with wrong sides together sew bottom and sides seams of bag

Crochet 30 chains into a length of yarn of the same or a different coloured yarn and sew the ends to the top of the sides of the bag



This will fit a head that measures 12cm around

Using 4mm knitting needles and dk yarn cast on 13 stitches

Slip 1 k1 p1 k1 p1 k1 p1 k1 p1 k1 p1 k1 p1

Continue knitting this pattern until the work measures 14cm

Cast off leaving a length of yarn for sewing up



Thread the yarn onto a knitter’s needle

Weave it over and under the ends of the rows up the side of the knitting

Pull the yarn tight to pull in the back of the hat and secure the yarn

Sew up the back seam using over-sew stitching

Turn the hat the right way out and turn the brim up



Using 4mm knitting needles and dk yarn cast on 7 stitches

Slip 1 k1 p1 k1 p1 k1 p1

Continue knitting this pattern until the work measures 33cm

Cast off

Neaten the ends of the yarn by threading them through the end edges of the scarf



Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Quick Quiz Answers


  1. There are plenty more fish in the sea – after a disappointment you must look for new opportunities
  2. Fishing for compliments – saying things in the hope that people will pay you compliments
  3. Something fishy going on – you suspect suspicious circumstances
  4. To be hooked – to like something or someone a lot
  5. To be a catch – someone who has a lot going for them – perhaps they are very good-looking or rich and so people will want to date or marry them




For an Embroidery Stitches Chart

Check out Blog Post 3

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