Our first excursion of our Disney Cruise (see all posts about the trip here) was to Grand Cayman, one of the Cayman Islands. We went to a touristy place called Hell, visited the Cayman Turtle Farm, and swam with stingrays.
I have to admit, I was not really excited about this day. I wasn’t interested in Hell and absolutely did not want to swim with stingrays. However, the last activity is so highly rated and so popular that I decided we should do it. I’m not scared of stingrays or anything, but I think they are creepy, and I didn’t want to touch them. I assumed as soon as I got in the water and got used to them, I would be fine. But that was not at all the case.
Our first stop was to “Hell”–a small field of black limestone formations that are supposed to resemble Hell. We took a couple pictures and then had nothing to do but go to the tiny gift shop, where a man walks around in a devil’s costume asking people, “Where the hell are you from?” There was also a very discolored and slightly-smaller-than-life cardboard cutout of said man.
Cayman Turtle Farm
I was really excited about visiting the Cayman Turtle Farm. I feel in love with turtles after we adopted our grumpy Lazar Wolf. But did you know that adult sea turtles are actually terrifying?
Swimming with Stingrays
We took a 20-30 minute boat ride out to Stingray City–shallow sandbars rife with stingrays. I look almost happy in this first photo (because that stingray was being held–I wouldn’t have been smiling had I known about the stray behind me), but the rest of the time I was an absolute nervous wreck. I stayed on the edge of the group with my hands clutched at my chest, frantically trying to move out of the way of any stingray that came towards me. And I squealed every time one managed to touch me.
I hated being “that person,” but I couldn’t help it. I was just really uncomfortable with the stingrays swimming all over the place because. I didn’t want them rubbing against me from every direction. They are way creepier than I anticipated–they have horrible yellow eyes and swim into people and each other very aggressively.
I thought it would be okay once I was in the water and really, really tried to not be a wet blanket. I started to get into the water immediately once we got there–like a normal person! But at that moment a gigantic stingray swam out from under the boat right where I was about to get in, and I moved to the back to bide my time. Eventually, there were only two people left: me and a crying 11 year old girl. No way was I going to appear the cowardice, so I got into the water without thinking. Then I stayed on the edge trying to avoid the stingrays and screamed when I had my first encounter–accidentally stepping on one. It was downhill from there.
I took a few photos with a waterproof disposable camera, but they didn’t come out that well since the water was moving so much I couldn’t keep my head and hands steady. Disappointing considering how brave I was to get that close to them!