We arrived in Grand Cayman early on Monday morning. My mom and I had to meet up at 8:15 a.m. for our tour so we woke up around 6:00 a.m. to shower and eat breakfast before we had to leave for the day. We were taken by tender to the island, since they dropped anchor in the middle of the ocean. We entered Grand Cayman and we’re told where to wait for our tour. Since it was around 8:30 at this time, we didn’t want to waste time shopping so we just waited around in anxious anticipation.
A little after 9:00 a.m., we were taken to our bus! We drove through Georgetown, Cayman Islands to get to the boat that would take us to our adventure. I would love to return to this island one day and actually get a glimpse of the real Cayman Islands. This was Tourist City! It was still completely wonderful to be on an entirely different place than I had ever been and experience the island life, even for just a little while.
There were about 50 people in our tour, but it honestly didn’t feel like that many. There were a few mom-daughter combos, some families with children, and a handful of college-aged/twenty-something groups of friends. We entered a double-decker boat that would take us to Stingray City, our first stop on our tour. Stingray City is awesome. If you’re ever in Grand Cayman, you must visit. There were probably 4-5 other boats visiting in addition to us and the stingrays were everywhere.
Stingrays get a bad rap, I must say. Every time I mention I went swimming with stingrays, people say how they would never do that and want to know how aggressive they were. In talking with our tour guide, he named a specific stingray type that is the most aggressive (I forget the name) but the ones we were swimming with were not. These rays lose their stingers the moment they sting someone and it takes 18 months for them to grow back. That’s a long time to be without your biggest defense mechanism. So they are very careful with those puppies, only using them when absolutely needed. Plus, these rays are very domesticated since people are visiting them every day. My tour guide used words like “cuddly” and “lovable” to describe the rays we were swimming with. Hehe.
Two of the guides came into the water with us and were so great with letting us take pictures and actually play with the rays. Some of the things I did:
- Kissed a stingray. Multiple times. No tongue, though. I didn’t know him well enough.
- Saw the mouth of a stingray - and laughed my butt off when one of them squirted water at my mom.
- Got a stingray back massage. Basically, the guide would rub my back with the sting ray. Slimey, yes, but oh-so-awesome, as well.
- Held a stingray. (I held a ray that was missing it’s stinger. I’m really not all that brave.) They are much heavier than expected, but just as slippery as you would think.
- Touched the stingrays. Many times.
- Swam. With. Sting. Rays. Does it get any better than that?
All in all, it was wonderful and one of the best experiences of the trip. I bought an underwater camera for this exact excursion and I’m so glad I did. I was able to capture some amazing pictures of our stingray experience. If you ever find yourself on the Cayman Islands (or on a cruise ship and you’re looking for excursions) do a sting ray excursion. I wasn’t all too excited about swimming with stingrays, but it turned out to be amazing. You definitely won’t regret it.