This morning we took a shore excursion to Stingray City, which I had always thought was a tourist attraction along the lines of Seaworld or something.  I didn’t realize it is just a spot in the ocean.  The description of the shore excursion read like this:  “Board your air-conditioned motor coach for a brief transfer from the ship to your specially designed snorkel boat.”  We tendered to the shore and then walked over to a parking lot full of air-conditioned vans and one rickety old school bus.  We were surprised to find that the rickety school bus (air conditioned by the windows we opened) was our transportation.  During the 10 minute drive to our “specially designed snorkel boat” our Caymanian driver entertained us with his extremely defensive driving, singing, and most excellent harmonica playing.  It really is quite an adventure to be driven through the streets of a Caribbean Island by a crazy driver playing Silent Night on his harmonica and steering with the other hand.

Last time we swam with stingrays, in Grand Turk, there was one stingray.  Here there were so many it felt overwhelming to me.  I couldn’t really swim because the water was only waist high, but the swells were about 4 feet high, so we were picked up off our feet a lot, and I was a little afraid I was going to accidentally land on a stingray.  They were very friendly and sociable and swished about against our legs.  The experience was very much like having cats casually rub up against you as they walk past, except these were velvety stingrays which I was just the tiniest bit afraid of.

We spent the afternoon mostly lounging on our balcony but we did go to the Mozart tea, which was lovely, and then, after dinner, to the tree-lighting ceremony.  This was great fun, with Christmas Carols followed by 30 minutes of excellent Dixieland jazz.  We found out today our scheduled shore excursion for Progreso has been cancelled, due to “severe lack of participation.”  Mary is very disappointed as she was really looking forward to swimming in a cenote.  Maybe we can figure out some other way to swim in a cenote.  Anyway, tomorrow morning we are up early again for a “Catamaran Sail, snorkel and Beach Party”.