A shallow barrier reef protects Stingray City and Sandbar from the prevailing wind and seas. This reef runs from Rum Point in the east to Barkers on the West Bay side. A mere couple of hundred yards beyond the reef is the famous North wall where some of the Caribbean’s best scuba diving is found.
Before tourism and banking became the main economy of the Cayman Islands, Caymanian people lived a simple life and many fished local waters from a gaff-rigged sailing boat known as a Cat Boat.
These hardy fishermen would often leave the safety of the North Sound, heading out beyond the reef in search of larger pelagic species such as Marlin, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi, and Tuna.
At the end of a successful day’s fishing these boats would return to the safety of the inside reef through a small channel now known as Stingray Channel. Protected from the trade winds and ocean swell they would anchor their boats at a shallow sandbar to clean their catch and trade stories of the day’s fishing.
With their keen sense of smell the Southern Stingrays that made Grand Cayman home came to learn there was food to be had when the boats arrived so would gather to welcome the fishermen on their return.
Over time these wild stingrays came to trust the humans, and the humans the stingrays, and a unique natural friendship was formed.
When tourism on the island started increasing it was an obvious progression for these fishermen to offer boat charters to their “secret” sandbar, now known the world over as Stingray City.