Santa Gets a Surprise

Story & Photos by Tim Rock

Last nite a new guest who calls himself Santa Claus had a nice birthday aboard the Mnuw. Sporting a long, white Santa-like beard it is easy to see why he has that moniker.

Today Santa got the presents as he was circled by mantas at the new cleaning station found by Yap Divers.

Manta? What Manta? Mr. Manta Claus

After today we can call him Manta Claus.

There was another critter that got into the picture. A small hawksbill sea turtle also made a showing at the cleaning station. There are hydroids farther down the reef, so he probably came after lunch! Turtles love hydroids (ug).

Hawksbill at the Cleaning Station

When the mantas were not around, which was rare today, the cleaner wrasse were even cleaning the damsels and chromis! Must be why all the cleaner wrasses are fat here!

Wrasse cleans anyone and everyone

And “Manta” Ray Bullion was also here, lighting up the reef with his strobes to the point where he use all of his batteries up. So then he used mine! Ray is seen here in the background looking like a bolt of lightning.

Mantas and Ray "White Light" Bullion

We had long and very satisfying interactions with the rays today. It is such a privalege to be able to watch them in the wild do what they do daily. This is indeed a magical place.

Yap Manta

Manta Carousel

Manta Cleaning Station

What’s in store tomorrow? Mantas for sure, plus some outer reef dives and some macro hunting.

Life’s tough. We gotta do it!!


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