It was my fifth day diving in Raja Ampat when I saw some Manta Rays. I was told were at least three of them swimming close to the shore. I had wanted to see them when I went diving around Flores Island, but I had never had the chance. Looking at them now from the surface I could see almost nothing, a fin cutting through the water as it swooped under the ocean waves and then nothing until it reappeared ten metres further away.
We had fifteen minutes left before the boat would leave the island for the next lef of our trip diving in Raja Ampat, Papua. I wanted to take a closer look before we left. In less than a minute I had put my fins on my feet and was paddling out through the murky waters, pushing my head above the water every so often to follow the ripples forming in the water.
We were treading water in the open ocean we must have caught their attention. Visibility in the water was only about five metres in any direction, which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t. When the first Manta Ray passed us by it was just a feint silhouette, but it grew rapidly as it headed straight for us. I won’t lie, knowledge of how deadly they’re tails are went flashing through my mind. There was no need to worry though, with a flick of its fin it slowly turned away from us ending one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
It’s hard to put into words the experience of watching these amazing creatures in the water. They glide with a grace quite disproportionate to their size, they’re long deadly tails slicing through the waters. We just stayed still, watching them as they circled us, it was one of the most incredible experieces I had diving in Raja Ampat.
Indonesia offers its fair share of awesome underwater experiences. Diving in Bunaken for example was absolutely amazing, but it just didn’t compare to the experience of diving with Manta Rays. I just can’t wait for my next opportunity to go diving in Raja Ampat, because it will be awesome! If you want to learn more about Raja Ampat and Papua then check out my in depth guide.