There is something about watching a manta ray swoop and dive in the water that can make you forget where you are. Showing more grace than any bird in the sky they manage to glide gracefully through the water, capturing the imaginations of the divers who look on in awe.
There are a number of sites around the world where you can see mantas; in fact, they can often be seen feeding close to the surface of the water in several of the dive sites to be found around Thailand, sites like:
About Manta Rays
An adult Manta can grow to almost seven meters across and weigh up to a staggering 1,400 kg making them the largest of all of the different Ray species.
An adult Manta Ray is capable of incredible bursts of speed and you can often see juvenile rays leaping clean out of the water which is believed to be a form of social interaction and play; it is an activity that can also serve to remove parasites.
Mantas are inquisitive creatures and will very often approach a diver and enjoy the human contact that they receive, especially the bubbles from air tanks.
You are more likely to encourage a manta to approach if you enter the water slowly and make the least amount of disturbance possible; hovering in the water close to a cleaning station is probably the best position in which to locate yourself to allow a manta to approach you.
You might also want to look under large boulders in the water as mantas do like to hide during the day time. Make sure that you never disturb them if they are engaged in activities like cleaning, mating or feeding, and though it may look as though they are offering you a ride, don’t.
Where to dive with Manta Rays?
Mantas are generally found in warmer waters, for example, the waters around South Africa, Mozambique to Somalia, and Madagascar. They can also be found in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Bay of Bengal, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, through to the Philippines and Cambodia to the waters of Southern Japan and Northern Australia.
There are some famous dive sites in the world which a lot of divers have on their bucket list. The Islands of Yap in Micronesia and Kona Hawaii are famous for diving with manta rays.
You can also find Mantas at dive sites in, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands as well and from Southern California through to Northern Peru.
Basically, every tropical ocean is home to the Manta Ray, though as with many other marine creatures their future is at risk. Fishing of these creatures has been increased in eastern Indonesia where they are used as a source of meat; Chinese medicine has used for the Manta’s gill plates and the skin for handbags and wallets.
It is important that the species are not to be driven to the brink of extinction by overfishing like so many species before and they are regarded as protected species sooner rather than later.
Have you ever dived with Manta Rays? Let us know in the comments below.This article is written by RUSHKULT, the online booking platform for Scuba Diving. Visit the RUSHKULT platform to book your next Scuba Dive training, guided trip, and accommodation.