Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stingrays are like puppies

Welcome to the wonderful world of Stingrays! I thought I would take a break from my angst about my weight and talk about something that brings me joy, scuba. (I know I am a blogging fool lately!)

The stingray has been getting a bad rap lately as a dangerous animal. Though, I know they can be if they feel threatened, but that wasn't the experience I had. There is a place on Cayman Islands, called Stingray City. It's a place for that tourists go to get up close and personal with them. You can scuba with them or you can go to a shallower site and snorkel with them. One of my jobs as an instructor if I was going to this site was to feed the stingrays a bit of squid. They were like puppies all over me and begging for some food. This started way back when the fisherman would clean their catch in these areas and the stingrays would congregate to get the scraps. They kept coming back and during the day there will be 50 to 100 or more of stingrays there.

This last pic with me staring at the stingray, I am kind of in a state of shock or maybe awe at the way the stingrays can be all over you. I think this was my first day that I was going to feed them and was getting trained by another diver. Unfortunately for me, I didn't know that some of my fellow workers were initiating me into the world of stingray/duty (as they have done with others before me) and loaded up by pockets and under the strap on my tank with fresh squid. I couldn't figure out why all the darn stingrays loved me so much as I didn't have food at this point. At least you can pee your pants without anyone knowing! HA! Just kidding. I never got tired of seeing these sea creatures and also had experiences with the bigger versions of this family, the eagle ray (elusive) and the big Manta Ray, which I had the pleasure of diving with in Kona, Hawaii on a night dive.

I feel these animals are being seen in a negative light and it is no wonder as to what happened to Steve Irwin or Australia and getting a barb from one. Very sad when I heard this news and very surprised. He seemed like a wonderful and fun person and I felt very sad by his death. Like I really knew him which, of course, I didn't have the pleasure. Chris H asked me on the blog if I changed my opinion of diving with them after what happened to him. No, it really hasn't. I did hundreds of dives with them and never got injured except for a nasty hicky they tend to give when they are sucking up their food. Yep, just looked, the scar is still there from the stingray. It looks like a white smiley face on my arm but is barely there anymore. They are like a fricken hoover vacuum when eating and it doesn't help that their mouth is on the underside of their body and their eyes on the top of their body. Anyway, no one I know every got injured by them. We try not to touch any of the animals and they don't bother us. There is a urban legend of a guy getting a barb in his arm long ago but he was said to be pulling the tail of one and harassing it. Usually, they will not attack unless provoked. But, I 'm sure if they felt threatened it could happen too.

Anyway, it is one of the memories of my dives and sometimes I would feed moray eels too. I didn't like that as much as they have large teeth and can slither around you! Here's a pic of a moray eel.
They are always cool to see too! Anway, finally got my scanner up and working so that is nice. Hope I'm not boring some of you out there in blogland. I know how I will talk about diving with some of my family or friends and their eyes will glaze over and I know it's time to move on to a new subject! It is one of the most awesome things I have experienced in my life though.

Hope you all are having a good day and I'm working on a new version of my wt loss plan that I can live with and start making some progress again.


Flo said...

As a marine biologist I'm greatly enjoying your scuba pictures. Stingrays are cool. I think part of the problem with Steve Irwin is that he pulled the barb out. Might have had a fighting chance if he left it, who knows..

Great pics, keep 'em coming.

Wanna_B_slim said...

I love hearing about other peoples adventure...I myself would never dive.. I really dont like the ocean. It is gr8 to see pics like these tho as I still love looking. Scardey cat I am.. haha

celtic_girl said...

I enjoy reading about your scubs diving, because I know I will never do it. I'm with Wanna - a big scardey cat!!! lol

christie said...

Don't ever worry about boring anyone, remember your blog is YOURS and it's for you, and we are just readers.
Personally I LOVE hearing this kind of stuff and seeing all the pictures. Thanks for sharing!!! Love ya!

Spider63 said...

Those are great photos, and you have some wonderful memories!! I can only imagine the wonders that you have seen, thanks for sharing them!