Every day at 6:30pm, without fail, something special happens at Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives… It’s feeding time for the stingrays! For at least ten years the resort has faithfully fed the stingrays who otherwise might struggle to find enough food, explained their marine biologist.
There are up to ten stingrays who come every day to be fed fish from the bucket, to the delight of the guests. Unlike at some other resorts in the Maldives, the guests at Huvafen Fushi are only allowed to observe the feeding and not feed the stingrays themselves. However, letting a stingray swim up and sit on your feet is encouraged so that you can get a sense of their weight and strength. Of course, I was far too scared to let them touch my feet (I am such a wimp) but my husband did. They are quite naughty though because they will ‘bite’ the marine biologist’s toes if they want more fish!
The stingrays have all been given names by the resort and they put a laminated sheet of paper on the sand so you can read about them and identify them by their photo. There’s a bit of information on each stingray about their identifying features or personality traits. Peter was the easiest to identify because he has a short tail. Holly was too because she has a hole in her head, which they think may have been caused by a fishing hook. Chocolate is the darkest stingray and also the one who likes to push in and try get all the fish!
Peter was my favourite because, with his short tail, he was the least scary! Trust me, you don’t want to get hit by their tail… apparently, it’s like being hit with a whip. The dangerous part of the tail is the barb, which is venomous. Stingrays will swim away if they feel under threat so it’s perfectly safe to swim near them. They only attack with their barb if they have been stepped on so always look down when you’re snorkelling or diving to make sure there aren’t any swimming beneath you that you may accidentally touch.
We couldn’t believe how intelligent these stingrays are. How they know when to come to get fed and how they find their way back to that same spot, every day. It’s fascinating! We stayed at the resort for a week and only missed out on the feeding once because we went on an excursion to see dolphins.
On some occasions we spotted black tip sharks, swimming just behind the stingrays, who were hoping to get some of the fish. Although they are sharks, they are completely harmless so no need to worry. In fact, some guests even wade in to the water to get a better photo.
We loved watching them feed! For us it was such a unique and special experience.