Why do we become sailors if not for the love of the sea and the travel that lies ahead of us? How many maritime students sit in a classroom right now dreaming of the days when they will sail from one continent to another. The breeze, the salty air, the burning sun, the sound of clashing waves, the freedom of it; that’s why we are here.
Around 10 years ago I was in a crisis. Life seemed pretty good back then, I was in my early 20, I kind of had it all and yet, there was always this feeling that something is missing. I wanted to see the world, I wanted something out of the ordinary in my life, I wanted more. And oh boy I sure received much more than I asked since then. Dreams do come true even when you don’t see how, just believe they will.
One of these dreams was to play with the stingrays (my next on the list is to see the flamingos in Aruba and visit the Grand Canyon one day). So today, while docked in Antigua, I was given the chance to do so and it was a lot of fun.. and scary, ok fun and scary at the same time.
How does that work? Let’s imagine a stingray called Jane. Jane relaxes happily in the sand, chilling like any other stingray until suddenly she hears the boat engines approaching. “Meal time” she thinks. So Jane gets her family and friends and goes to this meeting point, really shallow water but who cares, Jane is there for the shrimps. Truth is the road to get a proper meal is kind of full of obstructions and her eye sight isn’t helping either. Having to swim in between all sorts of legs, snorkel masks, gopros, lifevests and more legs that must be avoided somehow, Jane finally gets her shrimp and that makes it all worth it. Sure she will make a few stops for pictures and for some tummy tickling but that’s alright. When the food is finished and the water cleared all of obstructions, Jane goes back to her sand to chill, digest and make some room for when the boat engine returns.
Not a bad life at all I would say.
So yes, the experience was amazing and it was a lot of fun although it takes some time to get used to them. Some of the stingrays are massive and you might feel a bit anxious when having two or three of them around you. I strongly recommend Stingray City in Antigua and please make sure you get your GoPro with you.