Friday, June 4, 2010

Dancing with Manta Rays in Toau

Current Location: Anse Amyot, Toau Atoll, Tuamotus, French Polynesia 15-48.21S / 146-09.14W

We have been at Toau's Anse Amyot for almost a week now, and I haven't blogged anything about this wonderful place. (Too busy having fun.)

We had planned to only stay a couple of days here, and leave for the next atoll, Apataki, when Visions left for Papeete. But we have finally found paradise. Dave says we may never leave!

On our first full day here, our host Gaston took all of us in his small outboard-powered boat inside the lagoon to 'a secret place' where the Manta Rays feed. It took him only a couple of minutes to locate the Manta Rays--flashing alternately white and black underwater. He anchored and urged us to jump in.

7 of us donned snorkel gear and went to swim with the Mantas. These rays are normally pelagic fish, and a HUGE. A typical manta has a 10 foot 'wingspan'. We found a total of 10 rays feeding on plankton. Even Gaston was impressed to see so many in one place. These mantas were doing graceful back loops, essentially staying in one general location, and scooping the numerous plankton into their giant mouths.

We had 2 underwater cameras in the group. Dave got a bunch of good still pictures, which we will eventually post here, and Gram, from Visions, took some nice video. You can probably see these videos by now on their photo site, linked from their blog at It was amazing swimming among these giant rays. Our presence didn't seem to bother them at all, and we were literally swimming among them for 45 minutes.

We marked the spot on my handheld GPS, so we could go back again by dinghy if we wanted to. But Gaston seems more than willing to take small groups out there.

Later in the afternoon, we made a SCUBA dive with the crew from Visions on the spot that Gaston and Valentine call 'Yellow Dog'.
At 6/3/2010 6:45 PM (utc) our position was 15°48.21'S 146°09.14'W

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