Manta Rays

Amy’s second day of diving... I figured she was ready for night diving... with giant Manta Rays with a 8-10 foot wingspan. She knew how much night diving I had done and figured how bad could it be. Well... this one was worse then she figured and she went back to the boat about half way through cause she got cold. Me however, I stayed in until I was the last one left and they turned off the flood lights.

The way the dive is setup is that we moored in a local that is common for this dive. We setup these very bright “car battery like” driven flood lights which attract plankton which the Manta Rays feed on. The Manta Rays are already conditioned to the scuba boats going there because they were surface feeding when we got there. After it gets dark and the plankton has has time to gather, the divers ( about 30 scuba and 20 snorklers ) gather around the lights and shine their handheld lights up to attract more plankton. The Manta Rays begin to swoop over the scuba divers heads ( within inches and sometimes contacting ) in order to suck up as much plankton as possible.

I actually got run into twice by the Rays because they are pretty skittish and when they get to close to each other, they bolt in another direction. They weigh about 350 lbs. Thankfully it didn’t hurt because once they contact you, they bolt the other way...it is however a bit unnerving.

Video 1 - An OK distant silhouette shot.

Video 2 - Two well lit belly shots followed by a divers head in the bottom left to show size of Manta Rays.

Video 3 - Two OK lit belly shots with divers nearby.

Video 4 - Distant silhouette shot with hot spots. The hot spots are the videographers spot lights.

Video 5 - Distant silhouette shot with hot spots. Similar to Video 4 but with better lighting on belly.

Video 6 - Incredible up close double fly by. Great mouth and belly shot. Couple of hot spots but quickly blocked by ray as he gets near.

Video 7 - Very brightly lit up mouth and belly shot on first pass because I am right next to the videographer shooting away from me. Second pass is of its gaping mouth as it looks like it is going to swallow the camera. Passes just inches over my head as you see my bubble roll off its belly.

Video 8 - Excellent shot of Ray coming up behind two divers. Great perspective on size and a really well lit fly by. Good visibility of the plankton as it starts to get real dense.

Video 9 - Very good well lit shot showing divers and multiple Rays flying over them. Nice shot of how the Rays were “turning on themselves” to turn around for a second pass.

Video 10 - Amazing close ups lit by videographer showing two belies and a couple divers.

Video 11 - Come out and play Mr. Moray Eel... just don’t bite me. :-)

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