We arrived in style – James Bond style. Our boat was greeted by our friendly guides who escorted us into the stingray reserve. Many in our group were nervous about stepping into the water full of rays. Fears that were definitely unfounded as we learned that the Southern Rays are actually known as the puppy dogs of the sea! They are super friendly and silky soft. At the reserve, they rub up against your legs and crowd around you looking for food. We were all able to hold and feed the rays as we posed for pictures. The anticipation for holding one of the rays was immense – while I knew there was nothing to worry about – it was still a little unnerving to have so many of the rays bumping into me as I joined the others gathered round the fish pail.
Stingrays do not aggressively attack people – stings are more likely to happen when accidentally stepped on. Shuffling through the water will warm the stingrays of your presence and they will naturally swim away. The guides were excellent at putting all of our concerns to rest, explaining how to hold the stingray and helping to feed them. They were excellent and patient as our group peppered them with questions. One of the other great things about Stingray City is that they have a photographer to take your pictures which you can buy, but they also let you take as many photos as you like yourself.
Arriving at Stingray City’s land base after our swim and snorkel, we were greeted with rum and fruit punch. We had a chance to look at the monkeys and exotic birds at the mini zoo. For me, the highlight remains swimming with the stingrays. I am not alone the belief that Stingray City is worth the trip – they won Trip Advisors “Certificate of Excellence” in May 2011.