Stingray City

No doubt you're wondering if I recommend a visit to Grand Cayman if you can't dive. Hmmm, sometimes I'm not sure it's worth it to go on living if I can't dive, but I can be a bit extremist about this sort of thing!

Let me be frank. If you can't swim, I couldn't see going to Grand Cayman. You'd have to really be a beach worshipper, because there isn't much else. But if you can swim, you should try it. The best reason to go to Cayman if you swim is Stingray City. This is the best attraction for the whole island, and I never tire of going there. Basically, its a sandbar (actually there are two, but most tourists never realize which one they're on) where fishermen used to throw the refuse overboard as they cleaned fish. The stingrays got used to coming there and became rather tame. Eventually, the tourist industry hit on it as an important national treasure.

It doesn't really matter what kind of boat you take to go see the stingrays, just get out there and do it!

We took the Red Sail catamaran out to Stingray City, departing the Hyat. This is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon!

A very tall mast...

Headed out the channel...

Get onto the trampoline before the boat starts moving too fast!

Funny story. These two wanted to hoist the sails. She was tiny, and had to jump up into the air and use her weight to do it. He just stood by without helping for the most part.

Eventually, she did prevail...

So now the boyfriend, nowhere in sight, decides he's ready to do his part by cranking it up the last little way. Shortly after this picture was taken, he proceeded to drop the expensive removable winch handle right through the trampoline and into the deep blue sea. The boat sailors never batted an eye. Now that's good service!

You can see how easy it would be for something to fall through the trampoline, yet its a very pleasant place to ride. You can nap...

...or just work on your tan!

Whatsa matter, didn't you see Titanic? Where's Kate?

Eventually, we dropped anchor on the sandbar. There were lots of other boats around, but the stars of the show were the stingrays.

Isn't he cute?

These guys are like big friendly puppies. The boat provides calamari to feed them, and they energetically beg for attention. There's probably 20 or 30 wheeling in and out of people's legs. Don't worry about touching one, they're tame, and feel like a soft chamois.

The guides get them to swim right up on their chests to get the calamari, and then they hold them so they're easy to see. The stingray doesn't really seem to mind too much.

Once you know how to do it, you can hold them too!

Evil trick: Rub some calamari juice on your friend's back. The stingrays have an acute sense of smell, but their eyes are located on the opposite side of their bodies from the mouth, so they can't see what they're attacking for food.

It doesn't really hurt to be bitten by one, they just have sort of bony gums, but they generate a powerful suction that can be a bit scary.

We're off to the Bahamas!

All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.