Grand Cayman was my favorite port of call on our Carnival honeymoon cruise in 2013. I had booked a shore excursion to swim with stingrays and then visit a turtle rehabilitation center. The excursion began with a short shuttle ride to our boat where we then enjoyed a relaxing 30 minute boat ride on the most beautiful turquoise water that I have ever seen.
A few miles out lies a shallow sandbar full of stingrays. These stingrays know that they will be fed by the tourists who have come out to see them. Prior to getting into the water we were given an informative talk about how to avoid injury to both us and the stingrays. We practiced shuffling our feet which is how you avoid stepping on a stingray and startling it, which is where most injury comes from.
Once everyone was prepared we were allowed to get into the water. Many tour boats come here so there were a lot of people, but that also meant there were a lot of stingrays hanging out waiting to be fed.
The crew on our boat handled the stingrays allowing us to touch and feed the rays. You could tell the stingrays knew the crew by the way they laid in their arms, content. It was amazing watching the stingrays “cuddling” with the handlers.
Each of us had the opportunity to feed the rays which was quite an experience. The crew gave us a piece of squid that we tucked into a fist. You had to make sure your fingers were tucked in. Then the ray would put its mouth over the top of your fist where the squid was and suck it out just like a hoover vacuum. Such a strange feeling but it was such a unique exciting experience.
After feeding the rays everyone had a chance to kiss the rays if they wanted too. Well Kevin and I were not going to pass up an opportunity to kiss a stingray!
Kevin went first while I took a picture.
He then received a back rub from the ray. They aren’t slimy, they just feel really smooth. Not bad at all.
Next it was my turn.
Then I got a back rub too!
Finally we both got to kiss the ray.
After that we had some free time to snorkel the sandbar, always remembering to shuffle our feet rather than swimming and kicking.
After our free time we said goodbye to the rays and boarded the boat for our ride back to the island to visit the turtle sanctuary.