First off, I pray that the title of this post doesn’t deter you from visiting Grand Cayman Island — I am being ridiculously dramatic. It is an absolutely beautiful Caribbean destination with so much to offer.
A couple years back, My mom, my sister, and I took a spring break cruise that stopped in Grand Cayman. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know that they offer countless excursions for you to sign up for when stopping in the ports. The ones offered through the cruise line are usually the safest bet, but can be more expensive and more crowded than a privately booked tour.
My mom decided that this time, we were going to go with the latter and booked a sailboat to sail us around the island and stop at “Stingray City” and a few other snorkeling spots. Stingray City is located within the barrier reef that surrounds the island and is known for its immense population of stingrays. This is the Island’s most popular attraction. So much so, that the stingrays are so used to humans that you can literally swim, play, and feed them! In fact, they have come to associate humans with food, and excitedly flock to the area whenever the boats full of tourists start showing up.
Because we booked a tour privately, we were able to head out on our expedition earlier than most and were first to arrive at Stingray City. Normally you’d think this was a good thing: we wouldn’t have to worry about it being too crowded and would get a more time with the animals. But it also meant that we were the first ones bringing them breakfast…
As soon as we anchored, the rays immediately flocked to our boat. Which was super cool. From the safety of the boat. Once we actually got in the water, it was a whole other story. I will admit, they weren’t actually attacking us, they were just overly excited for food. But that resulted in them body slamming us in chest deep water.
My sister, much younger at the time, quickly started to panic desperately climbing on my mom to get away from the rays. Unfortunately, with my mom having to deal with her, I was left to fend for myself. It got to the point where I could barely stay upright without being knocked over by a hungry ray. Feeling myself start to panic, I quickly swam back to the boat.
It was actually pretty cool to see there were so many of them… from back in the boat… not in the water… not being swarmed 😉 Shortly after, all the other tours started showing up, and the rays dispersed to seek out food from the newly arrived boats.
Looking back now, it was a truly unique experience, and I wish I had been a little older to better appreciate it (and not be such a big baby haha). I would still 100% recommend going to Stingray City and doing a private tour when visiting Grand Cayman, it’s so much much more relaxing than dealing with the huge crowds, and you actually get a say in what you see and where you go!
How would you have reacted in this situation?? Comment below 🙂