Get ready for manta season!13 Oct 2019
The Prodivers teams across Lhaviyani Atoll are bracing themselves for the very exciting time of year that is manta season! Many people visit the Maldives in the hope of seeing these majestic creatures and when they are lucky it is an occasion they will remember for the rest of their lives. There’s nothing quite like being in the ocean and observing manta rays feeding on plankton or visiting the cleaning stations. For scuba divers and snorkellers, the manta experience is often cited as the highlight of their trip.
Fushifaru Thila is the main manta ray cleaning station in Lhaviyani Atoll and frequented by manta rays mainly in November and December. At cleaning stations, manta rays hover over the reef to get cleaned by small fish, the cleaner wrasses. Manta rays spend most of their time in deep ocean waters outside the atoll, feeding on plankton several hundreds of meters deep. Only when their food is more abundant in surface waters do they come up from the depths to feast with mouths wide open and it at these times that encounters are likely.
It is important to remember that we are visitors in the manta ray’s world and as such we have a duty to ensure our interactions with them are responsible and cause no harm.
The Manta Trust have put together a very useful guide about how to safely swim with mantas without posing a threat to their well-being, please follow these guidelines during your encounters:
- Enter the water quietly
- Keep fins under the water to avoid splashing
- Do not approach closer than 3 metres – let the manta come to you
- Approach from the side – never block it’s path
- Do not chase the manta as it swims past
- Never touch a manta ray
- Stay at the side of cleaning stations – never on top
- Keep low but be careful not to damage the reef
- If a manta swims towards you, stay low and stay still – do not block its path
- In addition, follow local guidelines given during the dive or snorkel briefing