Richard Branson 'bitten by a shark' in the Cayman Islands



Sir Richard Branson has told how he was "bitten by a shark" while swimming in the Cayman Islands and later ended up with three stitches above his left eye when he walked into a glass door while shopping.

The Virgin boss was referring to being bitten by a stingray while feeding the creatures at Stingray City Sandbar. Writing on his Virgin.com blog, he said: "We were surrounded by stingray, as well as stunning coral reefs and tropical fish.

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"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."



The 65-year-old was on Grand Cayman where he discussed ocean conservation and the need for sustainable marine environments, including protecting stingrays.

Branson added that later he was out shopping for his wife Joan when he walked into a glass door.

He said: "As my anniversary was coming up, I popped into a local jewellery shop to look for a gift for Joan. I strolled purposefully into the shop, not noticing there was a glass door in my way. Crash!

"I hit the glass head first and I got this painful cut above my left eye. It was bullet-proof glass! We quickly set up a makeshift operating theatre, where I was given three stitches."

After taking part in a tennis tournament with the likes of Anna Kournikova and Mansour Bahrami, Sir Richard said: "It certainly made me forget all about my injuries, and I'm well on the road to recovery now."

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Richard Branson 'bitten by a shark' in the Cayman Islands

Walk along the ocean floor and discover the amazing corals and tropical fish in the Dominican Republic on an underwater family adventure. Children as young as eight can explore the underwater world as the only skills required are walking and breathing. The Seaquarium Underwater Adventure in Punta Cana allows you discover a submarine wreck, get up close to reefs and meet stingrays, sharks and colourful fish. All you have to do is slip on a helmet and attach an air tube to start exploring - you don't even have to get your hair wet!

Family holidays can be costly but if you're looking for an affordable way to experience the Caribbean, going all-inclusive could be the answer. The Dominican Republic has an excellent choice of all-inclusive hotels for families in Punta Cana, where you will find a 30-mile stretch of soft white sand, swaying palm trees and calm turquoise waters. The all-inclusive options here are vast and offer something for everyone. Try Dreams Punta Cana home to the largest free-form swimming pool on the island, Now Larimar Punta Cana for its fantastic Explorer's Club for kids or Occidental Grand Punta Cana for a tranquil atmosphere.

With lush green rainforest, tropical fauna and fascinating wildlife, Saint Lucia is the island for nature lovers. Rainforest Adventures is home to the Aerial Tram tour, where you are transported into the heights of the island's forest reserve. Both the kids and adults will enjoy the magical bird's-eye view of nature on this peaceful ride through the canopy of the Castries Waterworks Reserve in Babonneau. Those who like to explore the sights on foot should go on a Saint Lucia Rainforest Walk, where a forestry guide will lead you on an awe-inspiring nature walk to see massive gommier trees, spot Mangrove Cuckoos and hear the cry of the elusive Saint Lucian Parrot.

The crystal-clear calm waters of the Caribbean are ideal for snorkelling and perfect for discovering the beauty of St. Kitts as a family. South Friars Bay, White House Bay and Frigate Bay are some of the best spots for snorkelling. Blue Water Safaris offers a half day snorkelling trip with travel on a luxurious catamaran across the turquoise waters of St. Kitts & Nevis. Families will explore the finest snorkelling spot in the area, where colourful marine life is abundant, and enjoy a spot of lunch at sea.

Wonderful for kids with fun beach activities galore, there is plenty to keep the little ones entertained during a Caribbean getaway but what about the teens? St. Kitts is a fantastic island for older children and offers a wealth of adventure, thrills and nightlife. Zip lining, Flyboarding and stand up paddle boarding are some of the exciting experiences teenagers will love. They won't want to miss out on the lively beach bar scene at hotspot The Strip either. The area of Frigate Bay has a selection of places to eat, dance and socialise, such as The Dock (part of the Timothy Beach Resort) which boasts spectacular sunset views, lively Ziggy's Bar and Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack where you can enjoy a roaring bonfire, live band and karaoke. Stay at the three-star Timothy Beach Resort located directly on the Caribbean beach and beside The Strip.
Children will adore getting up close to sea turtles in St. Kitts and visitors as young as five can become a Sea Turtle Junior Conservationist to get a hands on experience in the life of sea turtles from April to June or July to September. As a Junior Conservationist, kids will accompany a research team during the nesting season as well as participate in fun-filled games aimed at teaching them about the survival and nesting behaviour of the sea turtles. They will learn how to make a sea turtle nest, take part in sea turtle jeopardy and even act as a sea turtle! Species found in St. Kitts include Hawksbill, Leatherback, Green Sea and Loggerhead Sea Turtles.

On mountainous Saint Lucia, you can visit the Caribbean's only drive-in volcano in Soufriere with the kids. Locally known as the Sulphur Springs, the attraction's road runs right through the crater of the volcano, which emits steam and bubbling sulphur. Don't forget your swimsuits as further downstream the temperature of the sulphur is not so hot and perfect for enjoying a family mud bath. There are observation decks so visitors don't get too close to the hot sulphur and steam, and a mini picnic park where you can stop for lunch. Rainforest Adventure offers excursions to the Soufriere Volcano, including the hot springs and mud baths at the Sulphur Springs.

Whichever Caribbean island you’re visiting, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. Super soft white sand, warm turquoise water and swaying palm trees provide idyllic days out at the beach. The Dominican Republic's Playa Boca Chica is one of the island's most family-friendly of all, while Punta Cana offers safe swimming all year round. In St. Kitts, White House Bay, Turtle Beach and South Friars Bay are some of the best spots to float around and take in some Vitamin D. Those looking for calm waters and long strolls in Saint Lucia should head for Reduit Beach, Jalousie Beach and Grande Anse.

Coconut Bay Resort and Spa was voted the number one hotel for families by TripAdvisor reviewers in 2012, and with its fabulous oceanfront setting, brilliant kids' club and the island's largest waterpark we can see why. The Splash area is where families can stay in colourful rooms overlooking waterpark CocoLand, which features a large activity pool, lazy river and exciting water slides. There is also the fully supervised Kidz Klub and the Caribbean’s first paintball facility to keep children of all ages entertained. For the parents, there are Caribbean street parties, a swim-up bar and four different dining spaces.

The Dominican Republic is the perfect island to hit the waves and learn to surf. Awe-inspiring Macao Beach in northern Punta Cana boasts picture-perfect seascapes and consistent wave sets. As one of the top destinations for surfers in the Dominican Republic, Macao has shallow waters and a smooth sandy beach bottom making it safe for the whole family to learn how to surf. On a lesson with Punta Cana Tours, you will be taught the basic safety tips, how to paddle, stand up and keep your balance. It's the ultimate way for families to have fun and enjoy the dreamy Caribbean waters!
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