One of the excursions was a 3 hour snorkelling trip with 3 stops:
First stop, swim with the stingrays. We pull up to the reef and within minutes, there are 30 stingrays swimming around the boat and someone asks ‘Are they dangerous?’. The guides say ‘No, not at all’, while my wife remembers that the Crocodile Hunter (a dude way tougher than me) died from a stingray incident. I am the 3rd to jump in!
There are several of the stingrays that the guides actually grab (they have removed their stingers – the bone like outcropping on their tails). The others are wild and float all around you as the guides throw small fish.
At one point I decide to try and feed one and get the scare of my life. It took me about 5 minutes to get a stingrays attention and then he starts coming at me. So I fling the fish at him while under the water. He misses it and comes right at me – not stopping. So, I do what anyone would do. I grab him on either side of this fins and push him back. He keeps coming and bangs into my side.
Ok, now I am a little bit freaked and push him again (Where is that crocodile hunter killing tail I wonder?). He spins and comes at me again (Now I may have yelled out ‘AHHH, he won’t stop coming after me .. I am being attacked!!’)
He comes at me again, I push him away again, the entire time hopping backwards on one foot trying to make my way into the crowd of people (Yes, I know .. courageous, employ a human shield). He comes at me again, and I push him away again .. then he finally loses interest and heads off.
FREAKED ME OUT, but what an awesome experience.
Second stop, swim with the sharks: The guides had a line in place and your directions were as follows:
1. Do not go over the line – hold onto it.
2. Do not hold onto a fish, the shark will bite off your hand.
3. Do not step on the sea urchins that are scattered around the sea floor, they will hurt for many weeks.
The pictures say it all, it was unbelievable. Not my photos, I need that camera case!
Next, we went to a coral garden which is simply a lagoon filled with coral, it was beautiful and I had a truly unique experience. I looked down on this .5M long sea cucumber (At least, that is what it looked like – it was long, tubular) and I saw it eliminate. Out of the end came what looked like a dog’s poop. I was pretty surprised. I did not get close, but it looked like it was all sand. Amazing to see a plant take that type of action.
Last, we enjoyed a BBQ on a private island with the natives. A great way to finish an extraordinary day. The women below taught my wife how to hula (smile).
They served a desert called ‘poe‘ which is pumpkin in coconut milk. It was amazing.
What a day.