Thursday, September 1, 2011

Breakfast with Mantas

There is a reef area within a short dinghy distance of the anchorage that is supposed to get regular visits from Manta Rays. But in the two times we had visited in the afternoon, we had not seen one. But friends of ours went a different time fairly early in the morning (for us), and had seen several.

So we broke our normal routine and got going off the boat at 09:15am. There is a buoy on the reef, placed there by the Rangers for our use, for hooking your dinghy to. As soon as we were hooked in, we could see Mantas below us. Everyone (3 dinghies worth) eased into the water to watch. We eventually had about 5 Mantas swimming around below us. They didn't seem to be bothered by our presence, though everyone was pretty good about not trying to get too close.

Unlike the Mantas we saw in Toau last year, these did not seem to be feeding. Instead, we think there is a 'cleaning station' there on the reef. They seemed to be slowly circling the same coral head, each with a couple of little cleaner fish swimming around their body--into their mouth and gills even. We swam with them for about a half an hour until all of us had had enough.

We had our camera with us, and Dave did a great job of capturing the Mantas on 'film', which we hope to share with you some day!!

For those coming behind us, the Manta reef is at 13-15.21S / 163-06.73W. It may or may not be marked with a buoy next year.
At 8/24/2011 8:00 PM (utc) our position was 13°14.86'S 163°06.47'W

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