In parts of the Society Islands in French Polynesia like Moorea and Bora Bora, you can swim or snorkel with stingrays, specifically the pink whipray (Tahitian Ray). We spent all of last year in Mexico shuffling our feet when we got out of the dinghy to scare away stingrays so we wouldn’t get their barbs in our feet. Here, these much larger species are very accustomed to people feeding and swimming with them, so much so that if they hear an engine they will come to explore.
Our first trip to visit the stingrays we took bread to feed them. Turns out they don’t like bread, so we didn’t have as much interaction with them as we had hoped. There were quite a few black-tip reef sharks swimming among the stingrays. Here is a few photos from our first visit.
Andrew went for an early morning dinghy trip to get a tin of mackerel so that we could make a trip to feed the stingrays. We went early to beat the horde of tourists that were there on our last visit and we were rewarded with some very curious stingrays.
A tin of whole fish would probably have been better as the mackerel kind of flaked and fell apart, but the stingrays hoovered it up.
Nope, not a puppy dog begging for food, just a stingray.
I’m not sure if Tristan was trying to kiss the stingray or just get a closer look?
Andrew quite happily interacted with the stingrays and giggled as they got close to him.
And a few final photos of these cool creatures during our snorkel
After our experience on Monday I was keen to go back to the stingrays so that Max and Ava could experience it. This required everyone to be up at 6 am so we could get there early. Getting teens up and moving in the morning is difficult, I had to wake Ava and Tristan up three times and listen to lots of grumbling.
Andrew decided to sit this one out so we headed off at 7 am and were the only ones there. Max and Ava were very hesitant with their interactions with the stingrays at the beginning until Tristan showed them how to do it.
Tristan is definitely determined to get up close and personal with a sting ray and share a kiss.
Max looking a little wary.
Mmmm not sure if Max is flamenco dancing, stingray (bull) fighting or just trying to get away.
Whereas Ava just looks nervous.
Ava learnt to never turn your back on a stingray or it will try to climb it.
This stingray just wanted to sit in Ava’s lap.
And when the stingrays disappear the clownfish come out to play.
It was such a cool experience I can’t help sharing one final photo.
And another video: