New visitors to Florida often forget or don't realize about the unkindly welcome that may be waiting for them as they dash out into the sparkling blue waters...stingrays.
Stingrays are prevalent during the months of May-Oct. Swimmers are reminded to do the “Stingray Shuffle” when entering the water. The shuffling feet create a disturbance that causes stingrays to move away. If a sting does occur, a hot pack treatment is recommended.
A few summers ago, my family and I went to Marco Island's Tigertail Beach. It's a beautiful, long, narrow stretch of sand. One must cross a wide passage of water to get to Tigertail from the mainland--which is best accomplished during low tide. Once across, your feet sink into warm talcum powder sand. Tigertail is inhabited by shorebirds of all varieties. It's a beachcomber's and photographer's delight.
Once we crossed over to Tigertail we spent no more than 20 minutes before threatening dark clouds began developing; lightning was suddenly flashing all around the island. Some fishermen dove into the beach foliage, trying to hide.
Grabbing our gear, we walked quickly across the waterway, then ran as the lightning was nearly overhead. I suddenly screamed. My bare foot had grazed across the fork of a stingray, slicing the length of my foot. We finally made it to a service hut on the beach, just in time, before the weathervane atop the hut was hit twice by lightning.
This adventure was not forgotten. The need to plan for an outdoor outing is necessary, especially during Florida's summer months.