Friday, June 06, 2008

Swimming with a Manta Ray in the Maldives

Last dive of the trip. We hit jackpot and had two manta rays swim into the group - then as mysteriously and silently as they had arrived - they left. Everyone chased after them trailing masses of air bubbles. I edged myself into the blue- as I had a hunch the Manta Ray would come back. I don't like chasing after them as I tend to exhaust myself quickly and consume too much air; and so I waited.

I didn't have to wait too long- the manta appeared in front of me - about 10m away. I thought he'd fly over or under me. But instead after he saw me - he turned around and hovered - consuming planketon. I stayed with him but daren't not approach less I scare him away. I assumed that my dive group would come up and take photos of the creature- but none did.

The current was strong and it was already a task maintaining position. I got a great video footage of the floral pattern on its back. Afterawhile, since none of the other divers was coming up, I approached it slowly. I tried not to kick too hard so that I would not cause too great a disturbance in the water. But the current was strong. Perhaps the manta sensed me, as I came closer - it flew off.

What an experience! Elegant majestic. They swim like eagles fly. One day I hope to swim right alongside this beautiful creature - I could then say I had a manta ray as my dive buddy! Haha.

Note: If you want to watch the video- you may experience some viewing problems as it is fairly large and streaming it online will be a problem even for fast broadband connections. If so, you will have to download it directly.

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