Manta Ray, Thailand, 2006.

Dreams of mantas

  Borneo [Malaysia and Indonesia] - July 2009

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: 

I dream about it, I want to see them, Sangalaki's mantas. Will they be there? Will I have the chance to meet them, to admire the graceful underwater ballet of these harmless giants?

Stories and images of other travelers

The pre-departure is also a trip ... Dreamed, fantasized. Nourished with images and stories of other travelers.

I ride again, this superb Pierre Poilloux's gallery (click on the image to see it) :

Manta rays

I read again and savor with envy the words of Yann Senant :

Facing us, mouths open, the divas fly, whirl, brush against us, move away in a magical turn and iron so close that we could caress them.
Huge. They are huge. Between four and five meters wingspan for those with white belly. Blacks are gigantic, more impressive and more fearful too.
In a formidable energy, they want to show us that they are beautiful, majestic, elegant, graceful, agile.

I revisit the page dedicated to them on the site Sangalaki is renamed here "The Manta Expressway". Ah, there! This kind of tourist propaganda has a definite effect on me...

Thailand, February 2006

The first time I saw mantas was in February 2006, in Thailand, on a dive cruise in the Similan Islands.

This trip is not listed here on Bubbles Underwater & Beyondbut I had still put some pictures online, on my very first websites at the time:

Similan Islands - Thailand 2006
Similan - Sub Pictures - Thailand 2006

The manta rays appeared at the end of the dive, as I got back on the boat with the rest of the group... I immediately put my fins, mask and snorkel back on and jumped into the water to admire them, snorkeling!

Great view, magic moment. I palmed it with all my strength. Palm as ever, to follow them. They are fast, despite the majestic slowness of their "flight". My emotion, my excitement was such that I felt no fatigue. What an adrenaline rush!

Below is the shaky little video I made at the time:

Indonesia, Nusa Penida, July 2008

The second time was last summer (July 2008), in Indonesia, in the waters of Nusa Penida, off Bali.

Difficult conditions: loaded and icy water, exhausting current. They swirled around the aptly named rock of "Manta point". Fascinating spectacle that their incessant carousel in the bluish fog... And here is one, and one more, and two more !!!...

You can find the story of this dive at the end of the link below :

→ The mantas ballet (July 16, 2008)

A manta ray emerges in blue fog. Manta Point, Nusa Penida. Bali.

Will there be a third time in Sangalaki?

I dream about it…

Small addition to the return of the trip

I've seen Sangalaki's mantas!!!! Yes ! Explore the other articles related to this trip (link below)... 😉

  Borneo [Malaysia and Indonesia] - July 2009

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  1. Still dirty beasts as well as clowns!
    To dream about it, actually.
    We had to travel to the Maldives in February following the tsunami, but impossible because our island had suffered significant damage.
    So where to go?
    But in the Maldives of course, we found a hotel that took our reservation.
    40 people on the island, 8 divers and mantas ALL-DAYS, just for us, ready to touch them.
    The tourists had deserted and under water there was only us, with dives to extend in 15m of water, and these majestic animals.
    A real delusion.

  2. 😀 Ah the mantas... what majesty... what passion!
    I did not see them at the Similans, but at every trip to Bali, like you at Manta Point and Komodo.
    I dedicated a gallery of photos here:

    I hope to see Rajah Ampat again this year and ... in Sangalaki if I can dive there one day! Suffice to say that I am very very interested in your trip and all the information you will give us about this destination!

    ❓ Do you also intend to dive into the jellyfish lake?
    Have you found sites that specify the best seasons to dive there? I can not find anything specific about it ...

  3. @Blue Lagoon: The Maldives, of course ... I'll go, I tell you, one day !!!

    @Manta: Yess!!! Thanks for the link!!!! I hope Rajah Ampat lives up to your expectations. 🙄
    For Sangalaki, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the dives ... I would like to do all the interesting sites, including Kakaban and its jellyfish lake. But you have to charter a boat every time and it costs a little bit for me alone. So I better be on the spot at the same time as other divers to share the costs ... We'll see. The Tawau-Derawan trip looks good folklo, I will tell it in a post project ... As for the "good" season, I do not know either. July does not look bad, but I will ask the Indonesian dive-master with whom I am in contact by email.

  4. Hi Corinne,

    Thanks for the link 😉 to my notebook...

    I also hope you'll see them in Sangalaki ... it's like everywhere, there's a bit of luck.

    Are you going to travel from Tawau apparently? Do not forget to make your visa for Indonesia 1 or two days before ...

    Also buy, and before your visa application, a return ticket Tawau / Tarakan by boat.

    It takes a bit of time, but it's inevitable if you're going down to Derawan.

    Kisses and good dreams O ° o °


  5. @Yann: I'm getting organized for all this ... I know it takes time to get down to Derawan. I have an on-site contact who has re-explained the steps. I will give the information that I already gathered in a post project! Come on, I cross my fingers for mantas !!!

  6. Hello Corinne,
    it makes you dream to see these majestic animals.
    I'm going to see Manta point this summer with my daughter. Practicable for levels 2? How is the current there? Is it as strong as it says? What are drifting dives?

    Otherwise concerning visas for Bali, can we buy them in advance to avoid queuing in Denpasar? If yes it would interest me to know where and how 😉

    @ soon for new trips to your blog!

    By the way, it's soon to be the new beginning not?

  7. @ N @ me: For the "Manta Point" of Nusa Penida (Bali), no problem for Level 2 or AOW; for Levels 1 or OW, it's a fair bit I think. As for most other sites ... It's really sporty!

    But in Manta Point, it's less the current that I found hard to handle (we had gone to the slack) that the terrible thermoclines. The boat did not go very often to Manta Point, which is difficult to access because of the swell there.

    In any case, yes, the currents are as strong as they say in Nusa Lembongan / Penida. We regularly drift, but sometimes the next day at the same site, it will be the opposite: cushy ...

    The problem is not so much the strength of the currents as their whims. We can go in one direction, then in the other, then again in the other during the same dive. It is very disturbing, one feels in the palms the water turn suddenly, change direction very suddenly; in this case, no need to struggle, or even to try to cling to the reef, it's a blow to exhaustion stupidly or to tear your fingers.

    But the dive masters of World Diving (center that I really recommend) are very knowledgeable and know how to perfectly manage the teams, adapt the dives to the level of divers, and detect the vagaries of the current. For my part, I have not tried "Blue Corner", which is apparently superb and where we meet regularly "eagle-rays", but can be very treacherous, with currents descending and ascending. Brrr. Not my thing.

    For the Indonesian visa: it can be done in advance in France, at the Embassy of Indonesia. All details on the Embassy website (document to download at the bottom of the page), or (But it's more expensive than the $ 30 visa-on-arrival visa issued at the airport because it's a 60-day tourist visa.)

    As for the new start, yes, it's approaching: it's for the end of the month !!!

  8. 21°C in Rennes? Wow! Did you do a short story for Ouest France? 😉
    Very good Sangalaki, but take the opportunity to go to Kakaban, it's next. To be dumbfounded ...

  9. @Francis: If you had passed by a few hours earlier, you would have been amazed to discover that it was the same temperature in Rennes during the day (24°C) as in Kuala Lumpur in the evening! 😆
    A brief for OF? Today, I'm resting, but I could have. In your opinion, who was one of the lucky needy on call on this sunny weekend, from Friday to Monday? Huh? 8)
    By the way, you don't think you're saying it right: the weather has been so nice and so hot (even in August we don't have such a nice weather), that the canard did a paper, on Monday, entitled "La ruée vers le soleil" (The rush for the sun), with the participation of our different editors from the coast. I escaped it, it's not so much the rush in Rennes, it lacks beaches 😀
    For Kakaban and its singular lake, I do plan to go there... I remember well the meditative expedition of a certain FLG 😉

  10. @ Marie-net: Yes, but it seems (info reported by one of my readers who has friends who come back from Derawan) that they are unfortunately fewer than before. No doubt because of the illegal fishing following the closure of the resort located on the island of Sangalaki itself ...
    In any case, it's going to be a hellish expedition to go there. But, what would I do to swim with mantas, turtles, and jellyfish that do not sting this funny lake ...

  11. The manta is overrated
    When you saw one, you saw 100
    It is true that the first times their scale and mass impress, but in the long run it gets boring so much that many dive guides make arrow words or sudoku underwater to kill their boredom when they go on a cleaning station
    All those chubby manta girls who are spinning around you in a choreography of the "Pom Pom girls on the comeback" level at an agricultural show, give a quick spin
    Not only is their fat (!) Largely overrated, but their large gaping mouth, framed by cephalic horns and eyes as expressive as those of a cow waiting for milking, do not encourage their frequentation.
    So Corinne, the best that we can wish for you is not to realize your "Dream of Manta" in Sangalaki
    Below is a link to the photos of a friend taken in Maratua, in case ...

  12. @ The Velvety Troll: 😆
    I was starting to miss the Furry Troll.
    Thanks for the link!!! More sub good rotten photos... 😀

  13. ah the Mantas, I had the opportunity to see them a few years ago in the lagoon of Bora Bora, moreover it was on the occasion of my 100th dive, great, since each new 100th more I meet rays! For the 200th one, it was torpedoes, because we should not dream, in the Channel we can have mola mola but not yet Mantas... 😛
    In short, I can't wait for the 400th for a new manta, I'll have to choose my destination well 🙂

  14. @Laurence: Ah... I'm going to approach the 300th, maybe that's a good sign? What if I offered myself Bora-Bora for the next trip? Or the Maldives? 😆 I haven't left yet that I'm already thinking about the next trip!!! In any case, no question of diving back into the Channel, it's beyond my strength now, I admit....

  15. Anyway, at the moment, I don't have a trip for several months 😥 , so I'm counting on you to make me travel by eye 🙄 with lots of beautiful pictures ❗