Why we do this
Our company was established in Grand Cayman in 1951 by Capt. Marvin Ebanks, who is the 'granddaddy' and founder of snorkel trips to the Stingray City sandbar. Capt. Marvin remembers as a boy fishing with his father and stopping by a shallow area in the North Sound to clean their catch. They and the other fishermen noticed that stingrays would congregate and eat the fish scraps that were being thrown into the water.
Some years later, when Capt. Marvin returned to the island after serving in the Merchant Marine, he decided that tourists to the island might like to see the stingrays from a boat, so in 1951 he began with a borrowed sailboat, taking people out from a dock in West Bay to see the stingrays. In those days masks and snorkels hadn't yet been invented for widespread commercial use, but the locals used five-sided wooden boxes (called 'water glasses'), with the fifth side being glass, to look into the water to find conch and see the fish and coral.
Once masks and snorkels were in common use, Capt. Marvin took people out to the clear, warm waters of the North Sound to snorkel, pick up some conch, see the stingrays (still from the boat), and his crew would use spearguns to catch fish and lobster. The lunch break was on the beach near Rum Point, and the fresh catch was cleaned and steamed Cayman-style over a wood fire. The conch, meanwhile, was cleaned and marinated with Capt. Marvin's special marinade and served on soda crackers as an appetizer while the fish was steaming. Ms. Anna, Capt. Marvin's wife, would have cooked a big pot of rice and peeled and cooked potatoes in the morning for their famous potato salad as well, to bring along on the boat and serve with the fish lunch.
The trip used to last all day, from about 9 AM until about 5 PM, and those trips are what the old-timers remember that started all the interest in the stingrays, snorkeling and coral in the North Sound. Today the area is world-famous and several generations of stingrays later, they are still living in the wild and coming up to people for their snacks.
Some time in the 1980s some divers decided to get into the water with the stingrays at the shallow sandbar, and from there the trip has evolved to what it is now: interacting with the stingrays in their natural habitat.
September 2011 marked Capt. Marvin's 95th birthday, and the 60th year of operation for us. Since September 2000 we have moved to the second generation of ownership with his son and his nephew. Capt. Marvin's continues to provide the experience of a lifetime to its guests, with consistently excellent service, and first-class boats, fishing gear and snorkeling equipment. Our most valuable asset is our first-rate staff and crew who take pleasure in giving our guests the best possible experience while they are on our island. Come on aboard!