Location: English Harbour, Antigua
Sunshine rays, UV rays and the most important rays of all: the southern stingrays! We spent the entire morning playing with stingrays off the coast of Antigua today, where we ventured out to an area dubbed Stingray City. After slipping into the open aqua blue waist-deep water, massive rays started to swarm around the hands feeding them deceased squid. Coincidently, we just turned in a short essay debating the ecological impacts of shark provisioning the day before and were able to approach our experience with a slightly more informed mind on the ecological impacts of this activity, such as the potential to alter rays natural behavior. With arms held out wide, the two-meter wide creatures swam right into our hugs, and their soft and slippery bodies ended up being a bit of foreign experience. Once all the squid disappeared, the rays silently dissipated into the ocean waters beyond the shallow reef we were congregated in and we hopped back on the boat for the short ride to shore. Back on Ocean Star, our afternoon was filled with Marine Biology and a rescue-training course before we were able to go explore the land of Antigua. With a couple of hours before dinner, some went to explore what the town has to offer, others grabbed food, while others adventured to a nearby beach to play in the shallow waves. After dinner, our evening was filled with a question-based discussion on how different groups function and the roles people play within them for SLS class. With a day full of rad ocean creatures, lovely sunshine, and all the learning, its safe to say Antigua has been pretty cool so far.