I was working when I heard Steve Irwin died. One of the tech's came ripping around the corner and said, "The Crocodile Hunter died." I turned to one of the computers and looked it up.
How sad. I never really watched his show, but there was something about him that made me feel like he was a standup guy. It's always the good ones who die young, which means I will live to be about 114.
I was alarmed at how he died, though. A sting ray. The first cruise I went on, we stopped in Grand Cayman, and I did what every tourist does when they go to Grand Cayman...you go to Stingray City.
Stingray City is a large sandbar out away from the island that hundreds of stingrays hang out. Fishermen used to clean their catch and toss it into the water, and soon word spread to the rays of the free buffet, and more rays came. One day, a guy jumped out of the boat and swam with them. Stingray City was born. Before too long, boat operators started offering tours to passengers out to the sandbar where they could swim and interact with the rays, who by that time, became so used to the presence of people, remained docile, and just swam around...which was pretty much my experience.
Kant and I boarded a boat, we took a short trip, and we were there...with about 500 other people. You could see the rays floating around, like large portabella mushrooms, looking for a free handout. Tour operators gave everyone pieces of squid to feed the rays, and they would also catch them so you could "pet" them (they feel like rubber), and hold them. We were told that as long as you didn't pull the barb, the ray would not sting you. And try not to step on them.
Would I go back and swim with the rays again? Yes, but Irwin would always be on the back of my mind. His getting stabbed was one of those fluke things that rarely happen, and thing that the world will always wonder...would he have lived had he not pulled it out and just waited until medical professionals could extract it? If someone ever gets impaled with something, they are not to pull it out. You never know what it's embedded ito, and if it's holding anything together.
Sad that Irwin died, but not all that shocking. I guess when you live certain lifestyles, you have to accept the certain risks that go with it....whether it be wrestling alligators, racing cars, selling drugs, or being a Registered Nurse.