“We are swimming with the sting rays” my mother tells me.
“Umm what? like the things that killed the crocodile hunter?”
“Yep” she tells me.
Mind you she didn’t tell me this until we were in Honduras, before this moment I was led to believe we were going on a beach break.
In a word I was terrified.
I like to believe that I am up for anything, but the truth is swimming with animals that have killed one of the most fearless men in the world made me nervous.
But I grinned, and told myself it would be ok.
We get to the location, Everyone Loves Rays in Cozumel and are briefed on what to expect.
We would get 30 minutes to swim with the rays and 30 minutes to snorkel with the rays.
We learn the main purpose of the facility is educate the public about the rays, and explain why they are quickly becoming endangered. Hint Humans are to blame.
The breed and release the rays into the wild with the hopes of increasing their population, with the hope they will survive.
They are not technically endangered per se, but their situation has been considered problematic by most conservationist.
It was time to get in the water…
I get in the water, and I wish I had the video (that I did not know they were filming, because I kept jumping, every time one came to me)
I was freaked out.
They asked if we wanted to feed them. I quickly said no.
actually it was more of a hell no.
I swim out a little deeper to learn about their ecology.
We finally can touch them. I touch and quickly pull away.
It was this moment one that as ray that I swear was 10 feet across brushed against me and I freak out.
“Who wants to hold one?” the guides asks us.
everyone in my family is excited to do this, I am quickly shaking my head no.
I was literally minutes away from a panic attack.
Then my 80 year old self kicks in… Jennifer do this or you will regret it.
Ugh sometimes my 80 year old self really pisses me off.
I get in line.
When it is my turn, I am close to panicking…
Animals smell fear, because the minute I hold the little bugger he starts squirming and thrashing about and I scream and drop him and he swims away.
everyone is laughing at me at this point.
Finally I start to get more comfortable with the majestic animals.
“Who wants to kiss a sting ray?.”
Surprisingly I am the only person who says Yes.
So I kissed a sting ray… and I liked it!