Stingray City

Location: Grand Cayman

Today we were in Grand Cayman. We’ve both been here before, but not together, and we each came in with different memories of the island. Our plan for today was to see dolphins then go to Stingray City.

We had an early breakfast then took a tender into the cruise terminal. There were two other cruise ships today so it was a little hectic trying to find the place to check in for the excursion. But we arrived early enough that we also had time to do the obligatory magnet shopping before we left for the tour.

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A short time later, we boarded a tour bus with a few other excursions and made our way past Seven Mile Beach to Dolphin Cove. We booked the Stingray City, National Geographic Underwater Photo Exhibit & Nature Wonderland – GCZ3 tour. We started the tour by looking at a photographic exhibit at the facility. Other tour groups broke off to swim in the dolphin cove. We figured we would get our chance later.

The exhibit itself was interesting, and made Rachel ponder yet again about becoming a full time wildlife and adventure photographer. Meanwhile Ryan enjoyed the picture of gentoo penguins. Afterwards we got to see other animals at the museum such as parrots, iguanas, conch and starfish.

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We then had a short break where we could purchase refreshments and watch the dolphins perform and swim with people on the other tours. This would be as close as we would get to the dolphins. So webcrawlers researching this tour should be aware and take note to book a different version.

Next we took a mid sized boat to the highlight of the excursion, a trip to Stingray City. The trip from Dolphin Cove took about 20-25 minutes and it was a pretty smooth ride.

Many years ago, local fisherman would drop their offcuts off the boat in the middle of the bay on their way back to port. This would attract the attention of the nearby stingrays who would gladly accept a free meal. In time, the stingrays became accustomed to being fed at the same time everyday and always arrive around that time. Others took notice of this and began offering tourists a trip to the shallow and clear waters to touch, feed and interact with the stingrays. They are not aggressive, have no teeth worth mentioning, and won’t sting unless you step on their tails. Fun for the whole family. It’s now become the thing to do in Grand Cayman (besides diving and banking), and we took part in that tradition today.

We spent about 45 minutes at Stingray City. There were dozens of gentle rays swimming around us in the waist deep water.

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Our tour guide gently caught one in his arms so that everyone could get a change to hold a large stingray, kiss it, and get a backrub.

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Later the boat provided calamari for us to feed the stingrays. Ryan had the bright idea to hold the go pro and calamari next to each other so that he could film them eating up close.

Eventually our great time at Stingray City had to come to an end. We made our way back to the cove and later to the ship.

In the evening we saw the stage show “Once Upon a Time”, which featured the ships singers and dancers reenacting fairy tales with modern songs.

Tomorrow we make port in Cozumel, Mexico where we plan to visit the Mayan Chichen Itza ruins.

Total steps: 7,731

Total complimentary purell squirts: 10

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