Want to De-Stress? Swim With The Sea Creatures in the Caribbean

By Lauren Cohn

You’ve heard the phrase-“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Let me put it to you this way. Do you feel like a hamster on a wheel? Your life is hard, routine, exhausting, and you’re spinning your wheels everyday hoping for better times or simply a glimmer that the fog will lift and and spark new energy into your soul. Life can be so stressful that we actually don’t forge ahead with something we really want to do and instead lament the reasons why we shouldn’t and can’t afford to. So let me open your eyes. You’re not alone. We are creatures of habit in a complex and costly world and sometimes taking the plunge is the simple step we need to recharge. Easier said than done but necessary and why after two years of no downtime working 7 days a week I said enough is enough and I booked a trip to the Carribean. Why? because I wanted to swim with sea creatures. They are the wonders of the ocean, wild and free, and somehow I knew they would restore my faith in the world.

Grand Cayman is a welcoming island in the Caribbean known for it’s beautiful beaches, scuba diving, snorkeling, and of course Rum. But for me, the draw was the opportunity to swim with sea turtles, one of the oldest animal families living on the planet. They are colorful carnivores, wise yet vulnerable even with protective shells. It’s easy to identify with Sea Turtles because when we fall on hard times, we tend to stay in our protective shells but we can’t survive unless we come up for air.

Christopher Columbus found so many sea turtles around the Grand Cayman Islands he named the area Las Tortugas. Today there is a tremendous effort to preserve the species which is among the most majestic and ancient in the world.

Then there are the Stingrays swimming openly in the deep waters and shallow sandbars where they swarm to feed on squid tossed in by tour guides.They appear so passive and playful you forget they are giant shark related flattened fish with venomous spines. Within seconds of standing in the turquoise water with no land in sight I found myself holding a stingray, staring into it’s tiny dime sized eyes and feeling this could be one of the most memorable moments of my life. Reports show Fossil records date stingrays back to the Jurassic Period, 150 million years ago. They are oddly adorable and feel like a wet portabello mushroom when they bump up against you. My guides Val and Keith placed one on my back and snapped photos while holding my cellphone above huge water swells. My sister laughed seeing how I was more terrified of losing my cell phone than any threat a stingray could pose. When the photo-ops ended the slippery stingray swam away leaving me in awe and wanting more playtime.

You see-Like humans stingrays can be gentle creatures but when threatened they sting. The experience I had on my trip will stay with me forever. I had to come home and get back to reality. But my perspective changed. Life is a series of obstacles, hardships, tragedies, triumphs, successes, failures, heartbreaks and roadblocks. Every so often we need to be reminded that when we get out of our own way and into a new path, we can set sail on a new adventure. When life throws sand in your eyes, go play in the sand and sea and find your spirit animals. I did.