Pardon my ignorance, but I’ve never known much about rays except that they go well with sambal chilli. Before anyone accuses me of being cruel, I’ll have you know that it was with great anticipation that I decided to visit the Ray Bay at Adventure Cove Waterpark – because it’s high time I get up close and personal with these mysterious (in my opinion, at least) marine animals, to find out more about them.
As I was handed a pair of gloves and booties, I wondered whether these would prevent the rays from biting. I panicked: What if they weren’t satisfied with the prepared fish and cuttlefish? Would these seemingly harmless animals devour my fingers for side dishes?
There was no turning back, as the aquarist and lifeguard were ready to brief guests going into the Ray Bay. Each session lasts 30 minutes, which includes getting ready, safety instructions and the main thing – getting into the water with the rays. The in-water experience would allow us to hand-feed the rays, and we could approach the aquarist and lifeguard if we had any questions. As cowardly as it sounds, the only thing on my mind then was “Would I be bitten?”
As I treaded in the waters, I became more at ease because I had a lifeguard beside me. He told me to shuffle my feet in the sand so that I wouldn’t step on any ray that may be resting beneath.
Next, I was handed fish to feed the rays. Carefully, I put my hand into the water and saw a ray swimming towards my direction. Before you could spell “R-A-Y”, I saw some 10-ish rays coming towards me. I swear my heart skipped a beat, but this was no time to back out.
I stretched my hand towards the approaching ray, and the animal naturally “sucked” up the fish with its mouth. Hey, it’s not that scary after all! I asked for more food, and soon enough I was gleefully feeding rays and feeling awed by how they “sucked” up the food from my hand.
I’m a good multi-tasker – because while I was happily feeding the rays, I was also listening attentively to the aquarist who was introducing the different species in the Ray Bay.
There was the Leopard Whipray, the Honeycomb Stingray and his favourite, the Spotted Eagle Ray. He also shared fun facts about their diet and feeding habits.
Like us humans, there comes a point in time when the rays are full and have to stop eating. The minutes flew past, and my experience at the Ray Bay came to an end. As I returned the gloves and booties, I am proud to say my knowledge of rays has gone beyond just seeing them as sumptuous supper dishes; they are amazing animals adapted for ‘flying’ through the water!
By Terence Sim
Hear what an aquarist has to say about the Ray Bay interaction programme:
Daily session: Hourly sessions from 11am to 5pm
Price: S$56 (Adult) | S$46 (Child/Senior)
Or top up your Adventure Cove Waterpark admission ticket: S$20 (Adult) or S$18 (Child/Senior)
Terms and Conditions:
▸ Limited to a maximum of 12 guests per session. Subject to availability.
▸ Must be at least 5 years old and at least 107cm to participate.
▸ Guests under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a paying parent/legal guardian.
▸ Guests under the age of 21 must have a parent/legal guardian complete and sign the liability form.
[This post was updated on 7 July 2016. Please check RWS website for the latest pricing.]