An all-black manta ray watches me out of the corner of its eye at the Manta Sandy site near Arborek Island. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
An all-black manta ray watches me out of the corner of its eye at the Manta Sandy site near Arborek Island. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

Manta Spa

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 


Manta Sandy is the most famous dive site in Raja Ampat. Normal, it is a real "spa" for manta rays! Proof in pictures 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.

Manta rays are like that: the more you see, the more you want... Better not to start. After that, it's impossible to stop! And on top of that, you have to increase the doses.

As a result, I am now completely addicted to the manta rays of Raja Ampat!

 
Despite the lack of light that afternoon in March 2012 (grey skies and late day), my Canon 7D did pretty well.

Fortunately, we did two dives on the site... My battery ran out on the first one! I was "obliged", for once, to fully enjoy the show only with my eyes, without a lens in front.

😉

Manta ray cleaning station

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

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

A manta ray comes to have its portrait taken... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A manta ray comes to have its portrait taken... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
An all-black manta ray watches me out of the corner of its eye at the Manta Sandy site near Arborek Island. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
An all-black manta ray watches me out of the corner of its eye at the Manta Sandy site near Arborek Island. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

Anyway, anyway. The site of Manta Sandy is a joy for divers!

You just have to land quietly on the sandy bottom, between 15 and 20 meters deep, at a respectful distance, and admire the show.

Kneeling in the sand, just wait for the beautiful manta rays to pass and pass again... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
Kneeling in the sand, just wait for the beautiful manta rays to pass by again and again... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

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 of them, more curious, even come and stare at me very, very closely. They slow down, brush against me, hover for a moment above my head, then move away in a graceful flutter of their fins. It's incredible!!!

Once the initial excitement is over, the fascination remains. One never tires of contemplating this endless and splendid underwater carousel.

????

But the clock is ticking, the bars in the bottles are running out, the decorations are coming...

So we have to resign ourselves to going back up. Slowly, quietly, making slow circles towards the surface, to continue to enjoy, until the end, this fabulous view on the spiral of the mantas.

Obviously, everyone "dries" their tanks 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.

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'm lucky to have been able to attend such a ballet again. And I'm not the only one... Everybody's got stars in their eyes when they get back on the boat!

Manta Sandy is a truly exceptional site. The mantas are guaranteed to 95%. It also has the advantage of being easier to dive than the neighbouring site, Manta Ridge, as it is a little less exposed to the current.

But what is extraordinary at Raja Ampat is that even on sites that are not "manta points", it is not uncommon to come across one or two mantas, at random during the dives, especially on the aptly named Blue Magic... Remember to look up when you are stuck to a nudibranch or a pygmy seahorse!

→ To see all the articles about my dives at Raja Ampat : one click here !

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

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