Turks and Caicos Islands: The Other Stingray City
I’m big fan of Grand Cayman’s Stingray City. When you’re on the island, the chance to get in the water with the captivating sea creatures is definitely a must-do. But truth is, it can be a bit of a tourist trap, particularly when ships are in port and you’re competing with hundred of other curious cruise passengers for touch time.
But it’s a totally different story a few hundred miles northwest in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where Gibb’s Cay, 15 minutes by boat from Grand Turk, is now my preferred stingray sighting spot.
I went there for the first time a couple of years ago, on an excursion with GT outfitter Oasis Divers. After the boat circled a few times (“to wake them up,” apparently) first mate Lucky plunged in and started swishing squid and sprat in the water.
Suddenly, more than two dozen rays, some more than seven feet across, appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. Lucky began feeding Stumpy, Freckles and Princess, and next thing you know I was feeding them too, enchanted by the velvety feel of the rays’ bellies as they skimmed my body in the waist-deep water.
It was an unforgettable experience, made all the more special by its intimacy. With no cruise ship in port back at Grand Turk, I had the captivating company of Freckles, Princess and the tail-less Stumpy all to myself.