Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, click on the French flag below to access the original text:

Manta Sandy is the most famous dive site of Raja Ampat. Normal, it's a true "spa" with manta rays! The proof in photos and video.

Manta addict

I am a spoiled rotten diver. I already met the mantas of Koh Bon (Thailand), the mantas of Nusa Penida (Bali), the mantas of Sangalaki (Borneo), the mantas of Komodo (Flores) ... Progressive and inexorable rise in power.

Mantas are like that: the more we see, the more we want ... Better not to start. After, impossible to pick up! And in addition, we must increase the doses.

As a result, I am now completely addicted to Raja Ampat's mantas!

Despite the lack of light that afternoon - gray sky and end of the day - my 7D has done pretty well.

Fortunately we did two dives on the site ... My battery went to the first! I was "forced", for once, to fully enjoy the show only with my eyes, without a goal in front.


Cleaning station

Why such a concentration of manta rays at this place? In fact, the beautiful giants of the seas come here to get rid of their parasites and dirt by small fish cleaners.

It's a spa, I tell you! A term much more elegant than "cleaning station" ... The manta rays also take advantage of it to engulf plankton, when the current is of the part.

Manta ray. Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.

Manta ray. Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.Short. The Manta Sandy site is a delight for divers!

Just sit quietly on the sandy bottom, between 15 and 20 meters deep, and admire the show.

Above the coral potatoes, dozens and dozens of mantas keep spinning ...

They never stop flowing blue, turning over the coral, disappear, to reappear without warning, on all sides. They always seem more numerous. They pass and repass, rub our bubbles, not at all scared.

Some, more curious, even come to eye me very closely. They slow down, graze me, hover over my head for a moment, then move away in a graceful flapping. It's incredible ! ! ! The first emotion passed, remains the fascination. We never tire of contemplating this interminable and splendid underwater carousel.


But the clock is ticking, the bars are spinning, the decor is coming ...

So we must resign ourselves to going back up. Slowly, quietly, slowly completing circles towards the surface, to continue to enjoy, to the end, this fabulous view of the spiral mantas.

Obviously, everyone dries their bottle on dives like these ...

Manta ray. Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.

Manta ray. Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.

Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.

Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.

Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.

Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.

Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.In my eyes as a diver, there is no better show than a manta ray swimming ... The manta surpasses all other underwater creatures in grace. This blend of elegance and power is irresistible.

I measure my luck, having been able, here again, to attend such a ballet. And I'm not the only one ... Everyone has stars full eyes, going back on boat!

Manta Sandy is a truly exceptional site. Mantas are 95% guaranteed. It also has the advantage of being easier to dive than the neighboring site, Manta Ridge, because a little less exposed to the current.

But what is extraordinary in Raja Ampat is that even on sites that are not "manta points", it is not uncommon to cross one or two mantas, random dives, including the aptly named Blue Magic ... Remember to lift your nose, when you are taped to a nudibranch or a pygmy seahorse!

→ To see all the articles on my dives in Raja Ampat: click here!

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

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  1. Joli défilé 😉

    Visi looks pretty good for a manta spot, especially if the weather was gray. Unless you have reworked your photos and video?

    1. @Valentin: the visi was more than correct during the first dive, a little worse in the second when I made these photos and videos (more current loaded with plankton and sky more and more gray). We still see that there are a lot of particles in the water.

      No editing on the video (white balance made on the sand). Minor retouching on the pictures (framing, contrast, etc.), except for those taken without a flash in natural light (white balance made on the computer).

      By bright sun, this site must be even more fabulous!

    1. Thank you Romain! I had great pleasure to rediscover myself these images, more than a month after my trip and my dives to Raja Ampat, preparing this post.

    1. @Marie: mantas, but also sharks and dolphins ... I'm willing to bet you could even dive to better enjoy it so you will be amazed !!!

    1. @Xtinette: j’ai de la veine alors, à Komodo, je les avais croisées plusieurs fois et de très près !!! 🙂 Mais à Raja Ampat, c’était encore plus spectaculaire…

  2. Too much the mantas!
    j’ai eu l’occasion d’en voir à trois reprises à Bora-Bora il y a une dizaine d’année mais depuis plus aucune 🙁
    je suis en manque 😥 ❗ ❗

    1. In fact I keep a great memory of Bora for:
      - mantas
      -the Sharks
      -the beautiful landscapes
      But, I stay on my end for the rest at the dives level
      it is true that at the time I was just starting the bio, so I may have missed some things, despite everything I feel I have seen more in terms of diversity in the Philippines ... ..
      😯 Tu crois pas qu’on devient un peu difficiles…. 😉

    1. @Coralie: j’adore donner des envies aux autres… 😈
      On the other hand, you have to put pennies aside, for Raja Ampat. It's been a long time since I dreamed of going there and you can not imagine how happy I was finally to dive there. The problem is that I want to start again, now ...

      PS. Are you finally going on a cruise with the Photo-sub Forum? It's coming, right?

    1. @Julien: tss-tss, c’est pas normal, ça… Tu vas être obligé de retourner sous l’eau pour les apprivoiser… 😉

  3. I've admired the mantas at rajah ampat 3 times in their spas as you say, and I saw a loner, going back at the end of a dive, there was barely 10 m deep and I'm still scotche, in the figure as own with my hook. The manta was huge and I could have caressed her over and over again. The guide told me that it was an oceanic manta, much larger than the others. ? ? ? Do you know this detail?
    I am doing everything to return to rajah ampat, to see the filling rate of the shakti, I wonder if you do not speak too much elsewhere.

    1. @ Gerard: the same, on Blue Magic, each time, a huge manta at the end of the dive ... No doubt this "ocean manta" which you speak? I'm not very rigorous in marine biology on the mantas chapter, I'm going to study this ...

      Otherwise, I doubt to succeed to fill all the cruisers of the corner with my few posts. But if you really can not find a place, I will stop praising Raja Ampat's charms, so ...

    2. There are indeed 2 species of manta rays: reefs (called Alfredi, maximum size 4.50 meters) and oceanic (called Birostris, maximum size 6.80 meters).

      On occasion I could give you more info and some links to visit ... there I go back to dive ... with the manta of Nusa Penida

  4. Ah mantas rays of "Manta Point" (or Manta Reef "or" Arborek Manta ") following the guides. We too have had the chance to see other mantas several times, at Blue Magic and Sardines, this ki is particularly rare it seems. I do not remember their size, but we also met "mobulas", small black mantas often in bench of 6 or 7. Rigolos (and sublime of course). I feel like seeing your photos and video that they were quite numerous. The max for us it had been 7 (already not bad). Your video makes me drool like your post: I would believe it! This place is also particularly mythical for us, because it is there, under water, that we had met our common knowledge "Valérie Mantaleau". What a joke and what a memory! 😆
    PS - Your photos are really beautiful because I know the conditions of the area. So still bravo (what settings?)

    1. @IsaM: oui, je me rappelle pour la rencontre avec Valérie, j’avais lu ce post !!! 😉

      For my part, all my dives at Blue Magic have ended each time with the arrival of one or two big mantas!

      Enfin, merci pour le compliment sur les photos ! Ce serait fastidieux d’énumérer ici les réglages, puisque j’ajuste tout ça manuellement en fonction des conditions, et puis ça dépend aussi de l’objectif utilisé, d’un appareil à l’autre. Bref, il n’y a pas UN réglage à recommander… Là, c’était particulièrement pas facile, car en plus, je passais du mode photo au mode vidéo en permanence… 😡

  5. Fantastic ... Thank you for these beautiful pictures, the music is very well chosen! These animals are so graceful and an encounter with its giants of the sea changes every diver for life. I remember my first Manta, it was in Komodo, she was out of the Blue and was heading towards us quietly like a spaceship. Magical.

    1. @Julien: glad that the video you like ... But it's true that with a subject like this, when you're a diver, hard not to appreciate ...

  6. About the manta rays of Indonesia, an unhappy report from two specialists based on Nusa Lembongan to study the behavior of the manta of Nusa Penida. The couple left for a few days on Lombok, more precisely on the port of Tanjung Luar.

    Some pictures of their journey in Hell:

    You can learn more about this nightmare and Manta in general by liking their "Aquatic Alliance" page on Facebook.

    In the meantime, do not hesitate to pass this link so that fishing is finally regulated in the waters around Lombok ...

  7. Wow, wow, wow !!! The only time I saw manta was in Sangalaki. It was magical, breathtaking, fabulous. But there was not as much as in your video! Thank you for sharing all this, and congratulations for the very nice video.

    1. @Fabrice: Mais si, on trouve quand même quelques mots… 😉
      Now that you have discovered the pleasures of diving (and that you intend to continue), you will see: underwater encounters will be more and more extraordinary, I guarantee you ...

  8. Ça me rappelle de bon souvenirs 😀
    In fact, the site you call "Manta sandy" is not this sandbar northwest of Palua Mansuar?
    I think I recognized the coral potatoes and 2 manta seen in 2009:
    - the black with its white spot below the mouth
    - the white with its 3 W-shaped black marks at the bottom
    At the time, I made a video with a small camera, which has nothing to do with your beautiful movie 7/9:
    En tous cas je vois que tu prends goût au « manta hammam », expression à mon avis plus appropriée vu l’humidité ambiante 😈

    1. @Alimata: oui, tout à fait, c’est bien ce site-là… 😀 Et tu sais quoi ? J’y retourne dans quelques jours.

      Maybe I'll call it Manta Jacuzzi. Mantas love to rub their belly in the bubbles of the divers.

      I can not believe you're able to recognize manta rays with their marks ... Awesome. Thank you for your little video, very nice! (I confirm, by viewing it, that it is the same site.)

  9. Well !! I'm at Kri Eco Resort from October 4th to 11th on Pulau Mansuar !! a week after the earthquake of mag 6.6 we'll see if the manta will still be at the spa, I'm ready to give them a double Californian massage if needed! we'll see if October is the right time!

  10. Beautiful and informative.
    Une question à propos de RA: on parle de mantas, requins, thons, et dans la même phrase de nudibranches . On y voit surtout du ‘gros’, du micro, ou les deux? 😉