The Best Places to Dive with Manta Rays
There are two types of people who really get to know exactly where you will see the best of the underwater world. These people are marine biologists and divers. Divers who have the opportunity to dive all over the world get to see what the ocean has to offer, while marine biologists dedicate their whole lives to the ocean and its inhabitants.
Andrea Marshall, recently featured in National Geographic's online magazine, has been one of those lucky marine biologists who has had the pleasure of spending her days studying and swimming with the gentle manta rays. She is based in Tofo, Mozambique, a region that is well known for its unbelievable underwater biodiversity. She has travelled all over the world to study Manta Rays and learn more about these unusual marine animals. During her travels, she has been able to create a list of the 3 best places in the world to dive with manta rays.
About Manta Rays
The Manta Ray is a majestic creature. Seemingly floating along in the water, they are harmless to dive with and are often quite curious about the divers entering their habitat. Unlike the stingray, these creatures do not have a spine in their tails. The mantas are filter-feeders and some have weighed up to 3000 pounds. You can find these rays in warm, tropical waters all across the globe. Some of the hot spots that divers generally come across the manta ray include French Polynesia, Australia, Hawaii and Mozambique.
Just like most marine life, the Manta Ray faces constant threats. They are often caught for commercial reasons as well as by accident. Manta Rays are used to make traditional medicine in Asia.
The 3 Places to Swim with Manta Rays
Just as people all over the world choose shark diving or coral reef diving, manta ray diving is one of those expeditions that many divers look forward to. Knowing the best places to dive is crucial to the success of your trip. With the primary goal being to see Manta Rays, these are 3 places you might want to visit for your next underwater adventure.
It’s the perfect example of an exotic, sunny diving destination, without the massive price and commercialisation that is often associated with the more popular tropical destinations. And you can see Manta Rays if you go diving here!
There are many friendly manta rays to see around the Revillagigedo Archipelago, the focus of which is 4 islands which have a reputation for having remote diving sites, according to Andrea. This region is also a great place to spot sharks and whales. The best time of the year to see Manta Rays here is from November to May.
A real tropical paradise, Indonesia is home to a wide variety of different types of Manta Rays. And while you will be able to see plenty of Manta Rays here, you will also be quite happy to find that Indonesia is quite an affordable destination to travel to. This nation is also one of the biggest protectors of the species. There are two areas that are best for diving; the islands of Komodo and Bali as well as the colourful reefs of Raja Ampat. The best time of the year to explore the reef of Ampat is between December and April, while the islands offer all year round diving opportunities.
If you haven’t seen the pattern yet, each of the diving destinations listed here is well known for their tropical, warm waters. The Maldives became the first nation to protect the Mantas in its waters. Each year, during the monsoon, hundreds of these creatures swim into the lagoon to feast on plankton. You don’t have to be a diver to swim with these sea creatures. Because they are close to the surface, snorkelling is often the best way to see them. The best time of the year to see the Mantas is during the monsoon, which is generally between the months of May and December.