Swimming with a manta ray

First sight of the manta ray coming toward me.
Sliding by to one side, showing an eye and its cephalic fins, while it catches the light.
Dipping lower in the water, its upper markings clearly visible.
Heading away over the coral.

My usual posts feature a single photo or perhaps two or three, but today I wanted to give an idea of a recent encounter I had in the water with this manta ray. The photos are a sequence, top to bottom, from the time I first saw it, to it fading from sight into deeper water, about a 10 minute period. The ray swam quite slowly during that time, allowing me to keep up with it.

There are two kinds of manta rays. M. birostris, also known at the ocean manta, is the larger of the two species with a wingspan of 20 feet or more. The manta in these photos is M. alfredi, or reef manta, with a wingspan of 18 feet or less. This one was probably around 12 feet across.

Starting to turn.
Crossing below me.
Coming back up over some coral.
Out of the way, little fish.
Heading my way, mouth open, but mantas aren’t menacing.
Time to say goodbye.

12 thoughts on “Swimming with a manta ray

        1. Graham Post author

          That’s possible since some mantas must see a lot of people who go on tours to see them. But they’re also creatures with curiosity, and they will check out people in the water in the same way dolphins do.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply

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