Let Me Tell You How This Photo of an Eel Gave Me PTSD This Weekend
This was a memory I had blacked out from my mind forever, but this photo legit freaked me out this weekend.
I hate when people start out a story like this, but I am gonna have to do it here. Sadly, my father passed away last Monday and I've been trying to figure out a way to tell people and I guess this is how I am going to do it. Over the weekend, my family and I were going through my Dad's photos.
Countless memories were popping up, but one photo brought back one of the most vivid experiences of my life. I am not joking, this vacation I thought I was going to die several times throughout it. Why? Well we went to the Cayman Islands during spring break of 2007. Why is this date so important? One reason, Steve F***ing Irwin.
In case you're a little younger, you may not know about the awesomeness of the Crocodile Hunter. Steve Irwin had some amazing animal shows throughout my life, but sadly was killed by a stingray in the fall of 2006. So when Spring Break rolled around in 2007 and my Dad said we were going to the Cayman Islands. I wasn't worried, until he said he booked a trip to something called Stingray City.
Stingray City? Oh yeah Eric, he told me. It's a giant sandbar where you're surrounded by stingrays and they come to eat food right out of your hand. Internally I am thinking F*** THIS TRIP! Steve Irwin dealt with crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and other dangerous animals. I don't ever want to come in contact with the animal that took out Steve Irwin.
So we go on this trip to the Caymans and in case you didn't know, you drive on the opposite side of the road. Several times, my dad forgot this and almost killed us. Don't worry Eric, a car accident will take you out before the stingrays will. So we get to our resort and I see they're LITERALLY taking down advertisements for something called Stingray beer.
So here's the thing, Steve Irwin dying HUGELY impacted tourists to the Cayman Islands. The stingray population is a reason a lot of people go, but now everyone was afraid to go. They thought they were gonna die like Steve Irwin (I was one of these people). They literally changed the name of their beer to Cay Brew because no one wanted to buy it anymore.
I was there the first week when they were making the change at my resort. For some reason, this made me more nervous. People don't even want to drink beer with a stingray on it let alone get in the water with one. I believe the second day of our trip was Stingray City. I can honestly say I begged him not to do this Stingray City thing. Here is what you need to know about my Dad.
If he paid money for it, we were doing it. So we get on this boat to Stingray City. I get on the sandbar and just stand as close to the boat as I can. They give me some food to give to them, put my hand in the water, they swim by and eat it. I then say, "Are we done?" I may have been in the water for 45 seconds. Seriously, you're surrounded by stingrays.
That video above is not mine, but that was similar to my experience. All I could think of was Steve Irwin saying, "Cricky Eric get the hell out of there." We stayed on the sandbar for twenty or so minutes. Me internally having a panic attack the whole time. Tour guide was like, alright folks let's go explore some other parts of the ocean.
Get me the f*** on this boat and away from the stingrays. I'm on, I'm alive, I did it. You know what, it was fun. Yes Steve Irwin dying from one was a freak accident, but still it was in the back of my mind the whole time since it was only a few months ago.
So we go snorkeling in another part of the ocean and I think the scary part of my trip was done. NOPE! We anchor near a reef type place with a bunch of fish. I'm so relaxed now I feel like I could conquer the ocean. Go snorkeling for about ten minutes when my googles start to fog up. So I swim to the surface to clear them up near a floaty thing they threw in the water.
I go back under with my water proof camera and THIS F***ING EEL is two feet from me. I swim faster than I ever have in my life to the boat. F*** THIS TRIP, F*** THE OCEAN, F*** EELS. Seriously, all I know about eels are from cartoons.
I'm thinking, I'm gonna get electrocuted and drown. Something in my mind blacked out this memory until this photo came up this weekend. Now I will never forget this stupid eel. I'm sure some expert is gonna be like, that's not even an electric eel.
Shut up. I'm not a marine biologist. I saw something slithering up to me and I wanted the f*** out of there. So thanks for the memories Dad. You were right, the stingrays won't hurt me, but you didn't mention anything about the eels!
You know what's funny about all of this? My father requested to be cremated and he wants his ashes spread in the Caymans. No joke. So at some point in the next year or so I will go back and dump his ashes here. I swear to God if an eel comes up during this, I will know that is him somehow messing with me.
He thought me swimming away from this eel was the funniest thing he had ever seen in his life. So thanks Dad, I wasn't laughing, but he sure as s*** was.