on January 6, 2006
I am a scuba diver, so I thought that a trip to Stingray City wouldn't be that exciting, since I have seen marine life pretty close under water before. Boy, was I wrong! We got there early in the morning and were one of the first boats. There were about 50 stingrays in the group, and they pretty much all crowded around our boat looking for food. At first I was a little scared, thinking that they had stingers on their tails. They do have stingers, but they only put them up when they feel threatened and they are so used to people that they are not easily threatened. The tour guide said that you should shuffle your feet on the bottom so you don't step on them, because that could make them sting you. But, he said, even if you step on them, these are so tame that they would probably just wriggle out from under you. It was really cool to be able to pet them and feed them. Feeding them was kinda scary too, though. They don't have teeth, but they do have strong suction and jaws to sort of crush their food. The guide said not to worry, but I was still kind of scared. However, it was an amazing experience. There were so many of them, and they are so graceful and beautiful in the water. I don't think there is anywhere else where you can have this experience, to be up close and personal with so many of these amazing creatures.One suggestion, though, if you go, try to get there as early as possible. There are about 50 stingrays, and when we got there, there were two other small boats, but one was getting ready to leave. So the 12 people on our boat pretty much got all 50 stingrays to ourselves because we were the "fresh meat". But by the time we were leaving, another boat with about 50 people on it was pulling up. Then we went snorkeling a short distance away at the reef, and when we were finished, there were like 15 boats at Stingray City! AND there were more on the way. So it gets pretty crowded, and there are still only about 50 stingrays. I am sure that latecomers still have a great time and get to pet them and feed them, but earlier is better because there is a larger stingray-to-people ratio.
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