The first time I saw a Manta Ray while scuba diving was in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. The breathtaking experience only lasted one or two minutes until the Manta swam away. However, spending 90 minutes looking for them was definitely worth while. And since that trip, Manta dives have never disappointed.
During my recent trip to Komodo National Park, we had several encounters with Manta Rays. Some days visibility was not that great for underwater photography but being there was dazzling. There were at least 2 dives where visibility was nearly perfect. The dive team dropped us off at ideal positions for observing these creatures. At some dive sites, we were close enough to touch. But of course, I didn’t touch any of these majestic creatures. The video below captures some of the moments.
Manta Rays are one of the largest residents in this Indonesia Marine Park. Mantas can be observed year round in Komodo Island, often around cleaning stations. There are two Manta Ray species that inhabit Komodo: Manta Ray (Manta Alfredi) and Giant Manta Ray (Manta Birostris). Their average wingspan ranges from between 10-25 ft. and can weight up to 3,000 lbs. Mantas have a lifespan of 20-40 years. Mantas are identified by their spots under their bellies, similar to fingerprints. Overfishing, water pollution and climate change are the biggest threats to their existence.
A few dive trips before Komodo
After my first Manta Ray sighting in the wild, I went to Isla del Caño (Caño Island) in Costa Rica to observed more Manta’s. For a few months a year, a family of Manta Rays visit cleaning stations in the morning.
Next, I went to the Galapagos were I saw gigantic manta’s. Unfortunately, I have not finished editing footage from that dive trip. And last year, I spent a few days diving Manta Point located off the coast of Nusa Penida in Bali, Indonesia.
I think I might be Manta obsessed!
The images in the Manta videos were taken with either a Gopro Hero 4 Silver, Gopro Hero 6 Black, and Gopro Hero 8 Black. My underwater camera set-up can be found here.