Back to Miil & Mantas

Story and Photos by TIM ROCK

What would Manta Fest be without mantas? Well, they showed up today to the glee of early visitors. And not without a bit of fanfare.

Longnose HawkfishWe returned to Miil under sunny skies and a bit of a breeze. Low tide was just at slack and the channel visibility on the first dive was fit mostly for macro. Guest Judy found wire coral gobies and some colorful commensal shrimp hanging out on bubble corals. Ai and I went to the deep cleaning station and found willing longnose hawkfish in the golden gorgonians there.

But no one saw any mantas.

MF2bWhile having our morning hot tea and banana bread, we discussed where we should go next. That was settled when a manta actually lept out of the water right next to our boat! After seeing this big splash and announcement of “we are here” from the rays, it was back into the water where we had a tango with three mantas, an eagle ray and a few sharks. The mantas were lazily cruising in the incoming tide, getting cleaned a bit and taking a few stabs at being amorous it appeared. JR’s group had all three circle overhead at touching distance (no they didn’t, but they were close enough to touch).


In all, it was a nice dive with clear water and we spent a lot of dive time with man’s & woman’s best friends… mantas.

Tomorrow we expect to see more divers and some full boats as Manta Fest officially kicks off. But for the early arrivals, it’s been fun already.


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