Branson ‘bitten’ by stingray during Cayman trip

| 11/02/2016 | 42 Comments
Cayman News Service

Sir Richard Branson at Stingray City

(CNS): Just as the Department of Tourism starts a campaign in the US about Cayman’s friendly stingrays, one of them gave Sir Richard Branson a hickey to remember when he was visiting Stingray City last week. The millionaire tycoon claimed he was “bitten” while feeding and tagging rays with local ocean conservationist, Guy Harvey. While he was in Cayman, Sir Richard also walked into a glass door of a George Town jewellery store while shopping for a present for his wife and ended up with three stitches in his head.  

Although Branson first tweeted that he had been bitten by a shark, as the creatures belong to the same family, he posted a picture on his Twitter page and his blog of a typical Southern stingray hickey on his forearm (see below).

Branson was in Cayman to promote eco-tourism in the Caribbean and his plans with Harvey to secure greater protection in the region for all species of shark.

Speaking about his experience at the Alternative Investment Summit last week, he said, “Although around 20% of the world’s land is protected, only one percent of the seas are. We want to get that to 20% or ideally 30% protected as marine reserve by 2030.”

Sir Richard Branson talks eco-tourism with Guy Harvey

Branson wrote on his blog, “We were surrounded by stingray, as well as stunning coral reefs and tropical fish. But the rays were feeding all around, and they mistook yours truly for their food. Suddenly I felt a painful sensation on my wrist – they have one heck of a painful kiss! Rays are actually part of the shark family, so I’ve now been kissed by a shark. We made it back to shore and I put on a brave face as I got some treatment.”

Given the number of visitor to Stingray City every week, a stingray hickey is very rare and the Department of Tourism recently began running a TV commercial campaign in the United States featuring the rays and the beautiful water around the Cayman Islands.

Bransen tweet 1

Bransen tweet 2

Bransen tweet 3


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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Ellie says:

    Even a mild concussion can have devastating results on you brain and life. Just watch youtube video “A Concussion Stole My Life” Clark Elliott.

    Nothing to joke about. Simple measures can prevent people running into glass doors.

    The same goes with the clothes racks in a store, or wall hooks. The metal prongs protruding from the metal racks should be guarded with rubber softener to prevent puncture injuries.

    This is called “Injuries Due to Retail Store Negligence”. Store owners owe a duty to customers to provide a safe environment for shopping. This duty means that a department store owner has a duty to discover and eliminate dangerous conditions, to maintain the store in a safe condition, and to avoid creating conditions that make the store unsafe for customers.

  3. cayman says:

    Cayman people, the kind ones are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, yet, based on the comments, seem to be the the grumpiest. Just looking at the natural beauty of the sea, flowers, trees should make your heart sing, yet…your comments are so mean.

    • Anonymous says:

      Negative comments express anger not meanness.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 10:48 12/2 The simple explanation is that the majority of posts on this site are by non-Caymanians who had to leave their native land to seek employment elsewhere. Some have settled here but are still mad that they had to leave home to be successful. Others are not settled yet but are mad because they had to come her to get a better job, and all of them also enjoy the natural beauty you wrote about.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, we have some bitter folks here….

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s considered an absolute honor to get a “hickey from a Southern Atlantic Stingray” in the Cayman Islands.

    I have one on my knee and I’m darn proud of it !

    Better than a tattoo and guess what, I never paid nothing for it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    By the way walking into a glass door is not a joke. In the United Kingdom, it has been a law for several years that all glass partitions and clear glass doors be clearly identified. They call it glass manifestation. To prevent running into glass doors is quite easy and quite inexpensive

  6. Soldier Crab says:

    What is a “hickey”? Given the circumstances it obviously means a bite – so why not say so instead of using what is presumably a slang term from somewhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      A hickey is a love bite ( you know when a boyfriend or girlfriend sucks on you so your blood comes to the surface, teenagers think its cool). He has called it that because the purple colour makes it look like one. It’s not his fault you’ve never heard of it.

  7. Allar says:

    Lucky he didn’t say he was bitten by a turtle

  8. Kim says:

    This bloke will do ANYTHING for publicity.

  9. Jack says:

    Badge of honor for his help promoting the protection of sharks. That you and wear it proud.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Awww. Das juss a lil Caymankind love bite!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wow, our stingrays obviously have expensive tastes.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Guy needs to get Richard to buy a Condo here. The more billionaires the better.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ho hum! Next!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Millionaire??? He’s a Billionaire lol

  15. Anonymous says:


  16. Anonymous says:

    A complete BS PR release issued to the UK tabloids to get his name in the press.

    Why didn’t anybody in the media ask him what happened to the Virgin/CAL flights deal he was pushing a few years ago to bring tourists here?

    If you check the Virgin Atlantic website it doesn’t even recognise Grand Cayman as a destination. However, if you check with Delta (who own 49% of Virgin Atlantic) they’ll not only quote you for the trip but are currently about £300 (CI$355) cheaper than BA for flights in March.

    • Garfield says:

      At the time, Branson said that Virgin would fly here but first CIG had to extend the runway as none of the modern aircraft in the Virgin fleet can land in Grand Cayman because they are simply too big for our dinky runway.

      • Anonymous says:

        Garfield, that’s nonsense.

        What was said at the end of November 2010 was that CAL might pick up an extra 4500 passengers a year by connecting with Virgin from London into Kingston, Montego Bay, Havana and Miami. That deal was endorsed personally by Branson but he never made good on it.

        At the time CAL’s Whorms was quoted as saying, “Virgin operates Boeing 747-400 aircraft of 400-plus seats into Montego Bay, Kingston and Havana and operates Airbus 346 (340-600) aircraft into Miami. These large long haul aircraft allow adequate seats for feed onto connecting Cayman Airways flights.

        “The number of seats available to be used by passengers continuing onward to the Cayman Islands is not constrained – it will be a matter of demand for the Cayman Islands and the advance timing of the passenger or travel agent making the reservation.”

        DoT came out with a statement along the lines that the service was not limited seasonally or by time frame and both airlines would be working together to enhance connection options to and from the Cayman Islands and to market this to potential travellers. Dot also confirmed that Cayman Airways has rescheduled some of its flights to Jamaica in order to provide better connections with Virgin.

        The problem is none of this ever happened. In 2011 and early 2012 you could book seats on CAL by phoning Virgin in the UK but that was a very expensive option. There was never any mention of Virgin aircraft operating direct into ORIA and there never has been.

        • Garfield says:

          Richard Branson made very clear at a meeting of tourism related officials in February, 2012 here in GT that the CIG would have to extend their runway here if they wanted to receive direct Virgin flights from Gatwick. While this may be upsetting to 6:26 Branson could not have been clearer about what was required for us to get direct flights here from Gatwick. Virgin wants direct flights here and is not particularly thrilled with code sharing with CAL.

          Sorry, this is not nonsense but aviation world reality.

          • Anonymous says:

            Well that’s nothing to do with the commitment Virgin entered into with CAL in 2010 and that is what my original posting was about.

            Your 2012 ‘meeting’ with tourism officials was never reported in the local media and as far as I (and presumably everyone else) am concerned the first time this has been mentioned is in your posts above. Moses hasn’t even cited it as part of the case for extending the ORIA runway. Why all the secrecy and how come you are privy to this info when nobody else is?

            The odd thing is that on 10 March 2012 Branson stated categorically that Virgin had no plans to extend their route network out of the UK but would be concentrating on the USA and Australia. In February 2012 his publicity machine reported his presence at the Grammies and at Space Port America promoting Virgin Galactic but nothing about a trip to Grand Cayman. So when did this ‘meeting’ take place and who was present?

            • Anonymous says:

              Before anyone else jumps in here – I understand the accepted spelling is Grammys but it was spelt Grammies in the material I sourced from Virgin for my 6:38 comment.

              As for Virgin ever expressing an interest in direct flights to the Cayman Islands – that has just been categorically denied by a very reliable source. Apparently Virgin Atlantic have never regarded this as a viable direct flight destination because the numbers involved are so small. Anyway in 2012 the majority of the Virgin fleet comprised Boeing 747s and A340-600s with new A330s just being delivered – none of these aircraft would have been even remotely suitable for your suggested LGW-GCM service.

              So Garfield, where did you get all this info?

              • Anonymous says:

                10:18 You must be very new to this!!!!!

                Garfield is a TROLL – he posts complete BS comments on here to wind serious posters like you up. Just ignore him. Hopefully, he’ll then get fed up and go post his nonsense somewhere else.

            • Garfield says:

              For the report on the meeting with Branson and Premier Bush look at VIRGIN ON A DEAL in the Cayman iNews dated February 10, 2012. One can not get clearer reporting than what was said in the meeting.

              • Anonymous says:

                @Garfield – you just shot yourself in the foot here.

                The iNews story ends, ‘However, Mr Bush and Sir Richard renewed a long–standing proposal to operate end-to-end air services, called “code-sharing”, in which Cayman Airways would schedule services to Montego Bay, meeting Virgin Atlantic passengers ticketed through to Owen Roberts.’

                Well that never happened did it? And that was my original point, which you tried to ignore.

                In fact the deal with Virgin, which they never fully honoured, involved CAL connections through Montego Bay, Kingston, Havana and Miami. Not only was that publicly endorsed by Branson in November 2010 but it was backed by CAL, DoT and CITA – I don’t see any of them mentioned in the iNews story.

                The other point is that the iNews report doesn’t have any direct input from Branson or any evidence that he actually engaged in direct talks with the then Premier. It would probably have been a bit difficult considering Branson was in LA that week. The only quote from Virgin, which relates to the ending of their Montego Bay service, was actually a lift from another story not related to the alleged ‘meeting’.

                To be blunt the iNews story looks like complete nonsense to me and the fact that none of the other media outlets here ran with it rather confirms that.

                Moral – check your sources before posting on here.

                • Garfield says:

                  Perhaps you should talk to Richard.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    It’s Sir Richard to you and whilst I hate to question the version of events put forward by a respected political leader all the input I have suggests that the iNews story was complete bull.

                • Garfield says:

                  The reason why the code sharing never went through with CAL and others was because of the fact that Delta Airlines bought 49% of Virgin Airlines in December, 2012. As a result Delta became Virgin’s code share partner around the world and the reason why so many British / European passengers come here every day on the Atlanta Delta flight.

              • Anonymous says:

                ROTFLMAO, is that all your evidence? An iNews report of a ‘secret’ meeting that allegedly took place during a week when Sir Richard was in LA for business meetings and an awards ceremony?

  17. Anonymous says:


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