SHARK RAY ALLEY THROUGH THE EYES OF A MERMAID
Hi everyone. My name is Hayley, and I’m a fellow animal lover, rescuer, and crazy cat lady like Rebecca; however, I have her beat with five cats and a pitbull.
I’ll start this blog by saying that I feel so natural in the water and love it so much that I must have been a mermaid in a former life. When I arrived in Belize for the first time in December 2012, my top choice in excursions was Shark Ray Alley. I dove at Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman several years ago, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done, so I knew I had to have that wonderful experience again.
Upon arriving at Shark Ray Alley, there is crystal clear water as far as the eye can see. It’s absolutely beautiful. You can also see the sharks immediately approaching the boat from the distance. They are drawn by the motors because they know they are going to be fed.
I was ready to jump right in. I’d been waiting years to swim with the sharks.
However, we first enjoyed viewing them from above, and I was even able to reach over the side and touch one on the top of its head. I wasn’t expecting it to feel like textured rubber. Very cool!!!
My excitement level was building. I jumped in as soon as they said we could. Seeing the sharks up close and personal underwater was amazing.
I was even able to check something off my bucket list, petting a shark’s belly. The belly was very soft, much different from its top.
Once the guide joined us in the water, the sharks swam off to the periphery, and then it was time for the stingrays. Yes!!! This excursion is good for any level of swimmer, even kids and beginners. The stingrays are so used to people that the interaction is fantastic. You can observe without getting too close, or you can just have a small touch to see what they feel like.
My level of interaction is very different than normal since I prefer to be “molested by the stingrays.” LOL. It didn’t take long for my guide to see how comfortable I was in the water, and allowed me to hold my own piece of fish to draw the stingrays to me myself. That was when the fun really began.
Come to mama!!
Several times they slid up my legs without my even coaxing them.
I loved Shark Ray Alley so much that I went three times. On my last visit, I ended up with a special bond with a stingray. I felt like we were spinning around in circles. I was later told that we looked like we were dancing. I wish someone had gotten a picture of that.
This mermaid highly recommends that you take a trip to Shark Ray Alley on your next trip to Belize!!! I just wish I could take a scuba tank and sit on the bottom with them for a couple hours.
From SanPedroScoop: Thanks so much Hayley. AMAZING pics. And just a note for those not so comfortable in the water. It is suggested by the guides and the park rangers that you look and don’t touch the animals at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. And that is very easy to do.
They are, after all, wild animals (with a bit of a tame “we love to be fed” side but still wild creatures).