Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Stingray City is not actually a 'city' but rather a sand bar where you can experience an interaction with these beautiful, gentle, yet extremely large, creatures. Many tour operators offer tours to the site. If you arrive from a cruise ship, as I did, it will take a 10-15 minute ride to the marina where you board a boat for a 20-25 minute ride to the actual area where you'll 'meet' the stingrays.

Once you arrive at Stingray City, you can either snorkel with the stingrays or stand on the sandbar and wait for them to glide by. There's no need to be afraid of the gentle rays. They only have one mode of protection, their barb, and unless they feel that it is a life or death situation, they will not 'release' the barb. If they do release their only barb, they will not grow another one, so they will then be defenseless against any predators. Bottom line, their harmless. Scary at times, but harmless.

As you can see from my picture with a stingray, they will glide into your arms; however, this one decided he needed a 'rest' and basically laid down in my arms...he was heavy! --as you can see from my strained neck muscles!

To get the rays to come to you, all you need to do is stand still in the water and allow them to glide by you. Petting the top of the ray feels like wet sandpaper, while the underside is smooth and soft. Follow the tour guides instructions if you decide to 'feed' the stingrays. It isn't dangerous or scary, just a little like have a vacuum take something out of your hand. Again, follow the guidance of your tour guides and you will enjoy an amazing interactive experience.

From my experience, this is a 'must-do' if you visit Grand Cayman.
--Maureen McHale

1 comment:

  1. What a great post on stingrays. Lucky you to travel there. We had shark ray alley in Belize where I lived and there you could also pet the stingrays. I always worry about the barb after what happened to Steve Erwin in Australia, though.