Stingray City, Grand Cayman
Stingray City is a series of shallow sandbars found in the North Sound of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. It is a tourist attraction, where southern stingrays are found in abundance and visitors can pet and interact with the animals.
Stingray City is in the shallow waters of the northwest corner of Grand Cayman's North Sound. It is just inside a natural channel that passes through the barrier reef and consists of a string of sandbars crossing the North Sound from Morgan Harbour to Rum Point.
It may be that stingrays began gathering in the area decades ago when fisherman returning from an excursion, navigated behind a reef into the sound, and cleaned their fish in the calm water of the shallows and sandbar area. The fish guts and squid were thrown overboard and the stingrays eventually congregated to feast on the discarded guts. Soon the stingrays associated the sound of a boat engine with food. As this practice turned into a tradition, divers realized that the stingrays could be fed by hand.
Today, tour and excursion boats, along with private watercraft, gather at Stingray City in large numbers. Passengers disembark and enter the chest-high water to interact with the stingrays. The boats' proprietors bring along with them pails of chunked-up squid meat, which they dispense by hand to the animals, thus attracting dozens of the creatures to the feeding spot. Visitors can visit Stingray City and pet stingrays, while standing in only 3 feet of water.
Each method involves a short boat ride to the sandbar area at the North Sound.
- A snorkeling trip, which normally occurs in the heart of the sandbar where the water is only 3 to 5 feet deep.
- As a scuba diver. Dive groups consist of ten to twenty divers, wearing no fins as they may hurt the congregating stingrays. The divers are over-weighted, which keeps them on the bottom. The dive master swims between divers dispersing diced squid and fish pieces. Stingrays quickly surround them.
- Using a glass bottom boat, an alternative if the weather is too windy for snorkeling.
- Riding a jet ski, and then tying it to another jet ski that is anchored on the ocean floor.
- Cooper, B. (2009). About Stingray City, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Retrieved February 5, 2009
- Backstrom, D. (1999, 02, 17). Stingray City . Retrieved August 29, 2006, from The world's greatest 12' dive! Web site: http://www.cayman.org/divesite/stingray.htm/
- Garrison, L. (n.d.). Stingray City on Grand Cayman Island. Retrieved August 29, 2006
- Layman, L. (2004). Stingray City, Grand Cayman. Retrieved August 30, 2006, from Be Stingray Friendly Web site: http://www.stingraycity.org/studio/
- Button, M. (2008). Stingray City, Grand Cayman. Retrieved May 1, 2008, from Moby Dick Tours Web site