Stingray Extravaganza

The tour guide stood in the middle of the boat coolly with his sunglasses and sandals on and a microphone in one hand. “Just make sure you don’t lift up your feet or you’ll get stung” he said. I went from being excited, to clenching onto my dad’s arm in fear.
“Wait stung?! What does that mean? I thought the stingrays were nice?” I whispered to my dad as my eyes searched the water in fear.
My dad took my hand and he carefully climbed down the backstairs of the boat into a bay full of stingrays. All I could see was gray moving under me and my dad’s arms reaching out for me to grab them. The sea of gray looked as it was moving fast. Nothing about these dark large moving circles seemed welcoming. I focused in on the tails of the stingray, just imagining getting stung. I searched the water for the photographer. I had a plan to get my picture taken just to prove I swam with the stingrays and then I could get out.

This was turning out just to be another adventure on a typical family vacation. For some reason putting myself into what seemed like danger was not my definition of ‘adventure’. I guess as a ten year old I was more willing to put myself in such a crazy situation. Now, you would never catch me going freely swimming with stingrays.

Scared and anxious were the only two things going through my trembling body as I prepared myself to get off the boat. The tour guide had said the water would only come up to my waist. Well, I soon found that to be a lie as I watched the water cover my dad’s shoulders. Let me just remind you my dad’s over six feet tall.
I started to freak, “In and out” I thought. I dipped my toes into the warm water and started to climb down the short ladder. I reached the floor and held my breath as I started to tip toe around, slightly shuffling in the sand.

My friend Matt and his mom and dad had come on this vacation to the Bahamas with us and they joined us on the stingray tour. Although Matt wouldn’t admit it, I knew he was slightly frightened by the stingrays too. Matt’s dad was a few feet away from me in the water. His dad was a large man who always joked around about everything.
“What the….!” I heard Matt’s dad shout in shock. Out of nowhere a lady had jumped into his arms. He was suddenly found cradling a frightened sixty year old woman.
“I’m sorry! There was a stingray under me and ...I’m sorry!” the woman tried to explain herself along with trying to catch her breath. As I saw her panic, I started to panic more and focused on getting out of the water as soon as possible.
“Dad?!” I turned around quickly thinking I had lost him somewhere in the water. My dad was laughing behind me because he too had witnessed the older woman jumping into Matt’s dad’s arms.
My dad and I soon found my mom who seemed to be on her own little adventure. We all went to go look for the photographer in the water. A photographer and trainer came up to us, along with a huge stingray. My mom and dad posed behind the stingray each with a hand on its glossy looking skin. I, however, clenched to my dad’s arm as my eyes wandered back and forth between the stingray and the photographer.
“Say Mickey!” the photographer said in a bubbly voice. It was a Disney cruise, so of course something needed to be related to the big mouse, Mickey. I put on a fake smile along with fear written all over my face. Once the flash went off I started to jet away, pulling my dad along with me. I’ve never moved so fast, dodging one stingray after the other.
“Okay! I guess it’s time to get out of the water,” my dad laughed as we climbed back onto the boat. That moment when both of my feet touched the boat floor was the most relieving feeling.
“Took our picture, proves we swam with the stingrays, that’s all that matters,” my dad high fived me. Once again another successful adventure on a family vacation!





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