Best Places to see Manta Ray0
Increase your odds to scuba dive with manta rays by visiting one of these manta ray hot spots.
For divers, getting up close and personal with marine life in its natural habitat makes for a dive that won’t soon be forgotten. One of the most beloved of marine creatures is the graceful manta, and if you’re lucky enough to see these large beings glide and somersault through the sea, you’ll be left in awe. Increase your odds to scuba dive with manta rays by visiting one of these manta ray hot spots.
The Revillagigedo Archipelago, more commonly called Socorro ( November – May)
MANTAS are claimed to be the fame for Socorro Islands! But there are more..These islands are a spectacular magnet for the large ocean pelagic animals. Sometimes called “Mexico’s Little Galapagos”or “Mexican Galapagos”. The Revillagigedo Archipelago, more commonly called Socorro is located in the eastern Pacific Ocean approximately 250 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. These islands have been compared to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador or Cocos Island in Costa Rica because of the big animal encounters they provide. The Revillagigedo Islands consist of 4 islands: San Benedicto Island, SocorroIsland, Roca Partida and Clarion.
Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef
The world’s largest reef system offers many fantastic areas for encountering manta, but one of the best has to be Lady Elliot Island. Don’t let this small island with a single eco resort and airstrip deter you; it’s renowned for its snorkeling and scuba diving. Manta flourish during the fall and winter months, so plan a trip during these periods.
Sprinkled in the Indian Ocean are 1,192 islands that make up the Maldives, 192 of which are inhabited. These islands feature plenty of coral and calm lagoons, perfect for thriving underwater life. During the southwest monsoon season, from May to November, manta frequent the islands to feed and visit cleaning stations. Divers during this time are typically rewarded with seeing not just one, but many manta of various sizes – a once-in-a-lifetime dive experience.Hanifaru Bay of the Baa Atoll in the Maldives is a place where the dreams of nature come true. Dreams of seeing the ever graceful Manta Rays, lots and lots of them.
Kona, Hawaii (All year round)
Hawaii is well-known as a scuba diving destination, but a trip to the Big Island offers ample opportunity to make friends with manta: year-round! For an especially unique experience, consider a manta night dive. As you descend under the water, you’ll be armed with a flashlight that attracts plankton. Manta feed on the plentiful plankton, providing divers with one of the best visual spectacles they’ve ever seen.
Cabo Marshall, Galapagos (June and October)
Mantas can be hit or miss in many parts of the Galapagos Islands, but when you visit Cabo Marshall off the northeastern shore of Isabela Island, seeing manta is practically guaranteed. As you explore the black coral, you’ll be able to check a number of amazing ocean creatures off your dive list – hammerhead sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, pufferfish, parrotfish, and of course, the well-adored manta. Keep in mind, Cabo Marshall is not accessible by land, so schedule a live-aboard dive boat excursion.
South Plaza Island, Galapagos (June and October) Often seen in open water between the central islands, most often from the cliff at South Plaza or from the beach at Rábida in the Galapagos Islands, Manta rays are always a delight for divers. Wolf and Darwin too are good sights for manta rays and whale sharks among other shark species as well.
Yap, Micronesia (All year round)
Divers around the planet spend a lifetime dreaming of a trip to Yap, a cluster of islands in Micronesia. If you’re willing to make the trek to this quaint location steeped in ancient tradition, you’ll be rewarded with rich marine life including many manta rays. The area’s crystal clear water and underwater drop-offs make it a premier area to see manta in their natural habitat on a daily basis. When the trade winds blow from
November to May, manta dives are popular at Mi’il Channel. In the summer, manta dives are done in both Mi’il and Goofnuw Channels
Koh Bon, Thailand (October to May)
A world class diving destination- Thailand, there are a number of dive sites in the Similan islands among others others, however your best bet would be Koh Bon.
Raja Ampat (Irian Jaya), Indonesia (April/ May )
Put simply, Manta rays are common diving in Raja Ampat, in Indonesia. The Kri’s Manta Point in Raja Ampat is a famous cleaning station, frequented by the graceful giants. They are not shy either and swim closely above you so you can see them, at arms length away.
You’d expect Palau to have mantas, because let’s face it – Palau has everything! That’s probably because they had the foresight to ban commercial fishing in all their territorial waters creating a massive Marine Sanctuary. They also have a fringing reef close to deep ocean water and particularly serendipitous marine geography that funnels nutrient rich waters into the mouth of the German Channel. It is for this reason, that I spent the greater part of 40 minutes glued to the scene as a squadron of half a dozen mantas performed a veritable ‘cirque de marine’ – gliding, diving, barrelling, almost deliberately buzzing the divers assembled at German Channel to watch the show.
Be responsible when snorkeling or diving with manta rays by following these simple rules:
- Enter the water quietly so you don’t scare them away.
- Leave plenty of open space for the manta to maneuver (taking into account your bubbles if you are diving). Mantas, like sharks, will not willing swim through a curtain of bubbles.
- Stay calm and be patient – do not chase a manta ray, stay still and let it come to you. If diving, control your buoyancy and stay low, close to the seafloor.
- Do not disturb their feeding or cleaning behavior – position yourself on the edge of the current line and let the mantas do their thing. Think about how you might feel being watched whilst enjoying a meal, or taking a bath!
- Do not touch a manta ray, even if close enough. Touching a manta may remove the protective mucus on its skin and the manta may become prone to infection and disease.
By following these reasonable steps, you can ensure that the manta cleaning stations you observe stay open, and that the mantas are cleaned and stay healthy, giving them a better chance of survival.
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