My family of five has booked its 11th trip to Grand Cayman this June. I often thought of taking the children back out to Stingray City. It is with both sadness and regret that we have not gone out to Stingray City for six years now, and may never go again.
The experiences I have read from recent visitors have been devastating. Too many boats, too many people, disrespect for the rays by rough handling and exposing them out of the water. It’s heartbreaking to hear rays are being injured by boat traffic … this vacation highlight may soon disappear.
One sunny day, some years ago, Captain Marvin sat with us outside his home after we returned from a Stingray City outing. We could see and hear how proud he was of his efforts and business to take nature-loving and adventure-seeking people out to a place unlike any other in the world.
The men he employed (Charlie and Glen) were fun and very nice. They respected nature, they enjoyed their job. It was amazing, and we had the privilege of going three times with our children while they were young. We often thought to go back to see if ‘Freckles’ was still about. However, between the crowds and boat traffic, I feel it would take away some of the best memories we have on the island.
Hopefully the government will do more than just suspend new Stingray City/Sandbar licences; 209 authorised operators are still too many. If the complaints were made with the current number of licences, wouldn’t it make sense to not only freeze new applicants, but reduce the number of current operators?
It sounds to me as if this number is heavily contributing to the problem. Unfortunately, these are the things that need to be addressed immediately to keep Stingray City a healthy environment for everybody. We can only hope it will be.