On our first cruise through the Caribbean my husband wanted to snorkel with the stingrays. I recall thinking “Why don’t we just get in a fish bowl with some eels while we’re at it?”It sounded dangerous and I was completely naive to what exactly we were getting into, but it sounded interesting at the same time. I figured there would be several little sting rays that we could see under water and maybe they might even come within good viewing distance.
We hopped onto the boat and jetted out to the Sandbar in the ocean where we were normally supposed to be able to stand on, but on this particular day the water was abnormally deep and it was swim only. As we slowed down to reach the sand bar and where several other boats had already parked I could see a lot of black color in the water. It wasn’t just all the swimmers, it was something else. Soon enough a gigantic sting ray swam past our boat and you could hear several people on our boat gasp, probably in the same shock I was in. I could not believe how large these things were and that we were about to get into the water with them! I soon noticed people in the water were touching them as they swam by and some screams of women being touched by the passing sting rays in the water – I soon became one of them.
We were given a quick tutorial about the stingrays and what not to touch or do with them. These creatures are somewhat ‘domesticated’ from people feeding and getting in the water with them daily, so although they do still have stingers they’d only use them if they felt their life was in danger. My husband and I got into the water and were amazed at the sight of these large creatures surrounding us. I attempted to swim but I was too scared at first. My wonderful husband held me for a couple minutes until I became comfortable. There were tons of them and people were getting to feed them squid and hold them with an instructor. After being brushed up against by them a few times I finally reached out my own hand to touch them back. They are SO soft, almost in a luxury 1000 count satin bedsheet feeling (if there is such a thing).
This was and still is one of my favorite excursions in the Caribbean and I highly recommend you do it if you are on Grand Cayman Island. The tour is available to all ages, but I can’t imagine my 6 year old feeling comfortable about getting into the water with such large stingrays. She’d probably freak out as I did as an adult and the money would be wasted. However if you’ve got an extra curious, adventurous younger child that can swim or float well, then you may want give it it a try.