June 2021 Beyond Bali eNews
Dive Indonesia – Explore Indonesia Through Us
Dear AMD-B friends and followers
Incredible Manta Rays in Paradise
Manta rays are one of the world’s most exotic marine creatures! They are the largest rays and are highly intelligent. Mantas are found in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters around the globe.
There are two kinds of Mantas: The (pelagic) giant oceanic manta ray (Manta birostris), and the (coastal) reef manta ray (Manta alfredi).
Actually, a 2017 taxonomy study found that mantas are actually mobula rays (aka devil rays) – so Giant manta would be Mobula birostris, and Reef manta, Mobula alfredi – but everyone knows them as mantas 🙂
In 2014, the Indonesian government placed a country-wide ban on fishing and trade in Manta rays based on the simple fact that Mantas are worth a lot more in terms of tourist dollars than in fish markets. The estimated value of a single Manta ray over its lifetime is estimated to be USD1 million vs. USD40-500 when caught and killed.
In December last year, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) changed the conservation status of the Giant Manta rays from Vulnerable to Endangered on the Red List of Threatened Species.
Scuba divers usually encounter Mantas at their feeding locations. They have several creative feeding techniques ranging from doing repeated somersaults to stay in one spot that’s packed with krill, or chain-feeding where they follow each other in a circle, mouths open, to create a cyclone effect, trapping their food in the spiral.
The four main locations to see Manta rays in Indonesia are:
Manta Point, SW Nusa Penida (just off mainland Bali)
We are very lucky to see Manta rays year-round at Bali’s Manta Point. It is genuinely rare to dive here and not see them 🙂 In season (June-October), you may also see the weird-but-wonderful Southern sunfish, Mola alexandrini (known locally as Mola-Mola) and other pelagics such as tuna and Tiger mackerel.
More details here and here 🙂
Komodo National Park
Diving here is year-round; the best months to see Manta rays are during the rainy season from late November to February.
The Alor archipelago
Also known for sightings of Eagle rays as well as Mantas, plus sharks, Dog-tooth tuna and other pelagics.
Raja Ampat, West Papua
During the October to March rainy season, although visibility is lower, the water is rich with nutrients meaning you are likely to see more Mantas 🙂
If the above has whet your appetite and, like so many of our ‘Bali & Beyond’ guests, you can’t wait to start planning – please contact your friendly AMD-B Dive Travel Consultant on Tours@AquaMarineDiving.com today to start YOUR planning!