With its spear-like snout, razor-sharp backbone and stinging fins rippling in the ocean, it headed my way.
Deep down inside me there’s that yearning for adventure, for something a little dangerous, and on the Cayman Islands, I thought I’d found it.
One of the excursions offered a trip to Sting Ray City. It’s actually a sand bar located a good way out to sea and populated by a flotilla of sting rays that come here for a daily feed of fish bits.
This meal was unintentionally offered for years by fishermen on their way to local harbours. They anchored their boats on the sandbar, cleaned their catches and then threw the unwanted pieces overboard. To the sting rays it must have seemed like paradise – all these nice bite-sized bits of fish being sent their way. Now the area is a tourist attraction. Along with visitors from Europe, Canada and the USA, I had boarded one of the many tour boats and was on my way to feed the rays, and hopefully return loaded with pictures of my bravery.
I put on my snorkel gear, then swam over to the sandbar and stuck my head underwater to witness the feeding frenzy that was about to take place. It’s a weird sensation and hard not to panic as one of the stingrays spotted me. Its eyes fixed in my direction, this giant of the ocean sped towards me. Suddenly it moved vertically up my body wrapping it’s great wings around me, while its mouth on the underside sucked the fish bit out of my right hand. My left hand was free to tentatively touch the great expanse of fin and then, all too soon, it was gone, and I was addicted. For nearly an hour I played in the water with the rays. Oblivious to everything and everybody else but this incredible opportunity to encounter the wonder of nature in the ocean —I nearly missed the boat back. Sometimes, I wish I had.
Note: You can either snorkel or scuba dive. Watch our scuba diving experience here.