As the manta season gets really going in the Maldives, how do you make sure you get the best possible encounters with these huge beasts in the water?
Scuba Travel’s top tips for diving with manta:
- At cleaning stations: Manta flock to cleaning stations in the Maldives. These can be hard to spot (watch your dive guide carefully who will know where they are). The key to getting the best moments here are to remain as flat to the bottom as possible. This will encourage the manta to stay on the reef top and then you can inch your way closer… or wait for them to come to check you out. The temptation to float up is great (just ask Caroline – she kept getting told off!) but staying low to the reef pays off.
- On the reef: In locations such as Egypt you tend to meet manta on the reef, cruising past rather than being cleaned. Here you just need to sit back and watch the show. Manta tend to fly in from the blue and make a beeline for the reef. Stay still and you might get lucky with a real face to face moment. Head to Socorro for the biggest manta you have ever seen!
- Snorkeling: In the Maldives and Sudan there is a season for manta which congregate in lagoons to feast on plankton (Maldives: Aug-Nov & Sudan: Sep-Nov). Here it is a bit of a free for all, as the manta are focused on 1 thing – eating! They really do not care about you bobbing about it the water. Get so close as the manta loop about. A wonderful sight for all!
- Use common sense! As with everything underwater, use your common sense. It is all too easy to get carried away but don’t touch, just enjoy.
- Grab your camera: being close up with a great big manta is a thrilling experience and one you will want to record. Growing up to 6m, why not grab a wide angle lens to really capture every inch of these lovely rays.