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Snorkeling Travel

Many thousands of people go snorkelling each year . Some just want to snorkel and others scuba dive and snorkel. We will be expanding are Snorkeling Travel section in over the next few months . In the Snorkeling Travel section we aim to provide information on Snorkeling Travel based on firsthand experiences and local knowledge. Snorkeling Travel is growing in popularity but there are many books on dive sites but often the information on snorkelling sites is scanty at best . With are expanding our Snorkeling Travel section we aim to bring you information on the best snorkel sites in the world, with local information like access points and if the site should be tackled by beginners or left to more experienced snorkelers. Our Snorkeling Travel section will also provide information on points of safety to remember whilst snorkelling, plus information on how to snorkel, the best way to enter the water from a snorkelling boat and how to get back on the boat. All these experiences can prove a little daunting when you first tackle them especially if when you go on your Snorkeling Travels you do not speak the local language.

So if you have any Snorkeling Travel experiences , local knowledge of a resort or photos from your Snorkeling Travel experiences then please send then to us at info@activeaqua.com.

Snorkeling in the Glapagos Islands

A friendly sea lion might pop over to say hello during your Galapagos snorkel. Unlike most spots for snorkeling in the world Ecuador's Galapagos Islands doesn't revolve around colorful coral and tropical fish. This is the place to see big marine life - we're talking sea lions, sharks, dolphins, turtles and even penguins. Being the basis of Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution, the Galapagos Islands offer snorkelers fascinating and unique mammals both on land and beneath the sea.

The islands' remote location means that underwater wildlife are friendly and approachable - mainly because they don't encounter humans all that often.

"There's a good chance you'll be approached by a playful sea lion or a group of turtles that will happily swim alongside you," says Jim Sano, vice president of travel, tourism and conservation with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

The great thing about this activity is that it requires no special training and anybody can do it. It only requires the ability to swim and to breathe through the snorkel. As with scuba diving it is always recommended that one not snorkel alone, but rather with a "buddy" or a group.

The primary appeal of snorkeling in Galapagos is the opportunity to observe underwater life in a natural setting without the complicated equipment and training required for scuba diving. You will be amazed at how beautiful the underwater world of the Galapagos is. Snorkeling with marine iguanas as seen on the video above and with playful sea-lions are some of the favourite wildlife encountered. If you wear glasses then a prescription mask would come in handy! You will also have the chance to snorkel with green sea turtles, the world's second smallest penguin and an incredible variety of colorful reef fish.


Raja Ampat - Indonesia

Experts say it's hard to find anywhere else in the world that compares to Raja Amput for snorkelling. Given it's got the world's greatest concentration of marine life for a region of its size and 75% of all known coral species in the world can be found there. It is indeed a snorkeler’s paradise.

Raja Ampat - Indonesia

A marine oasis with more than 1,000 different species of fish, sea turtles, sharks and manta rays Its isolated location means you will not be joining dozens of other snorkelers in the water. You will have the stunning marine landscape to snorkel in relative solitude. Bliss.

The waters of this archipelago are made up of 50,000 square kilometres of islands and water.

Raja Amput has long since been thought of as a hot spot for divers and underwater photographers. However by donning a simple mask fins and snorkel its charm and beauty are accessible to everyone.

Most accommodation offers snorkelling equipment for hire but its’ best to take you own and also if you wear glasses or contact lenses invest in a prescription mask.

Tips for Safe Snorkeling at Raja Amput.

It’s worth noting a few safety issues to be aware of when swimming or snorkeling in Raja Ampat…

  • Currents: Some places have strong currents when tides are running. Fins are a must for snorkelling. Keep checking your position relative to the shore – especially if you don’t have a guide. Snorkelling conditions can change quickly so stay aware.
  • Reef protection: Look. Don’t touch! This includes walking over coral to enter the water. As well as the damage done to corals by handling or crushing underfoot, coral grazes or cuts are notoriously prone to becoming infected. Some species can also sting you quite badly. You shouldn’t attempt to handle any kind of marine life. There are many small and pretty animals on the reef that can do you a lot of harm. Blue-ring octopus, cone shells, lionfish – it’s a long list. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.
  • Sunburn: Sunscreen and/or lycra protection is a must. Snorkelling in Raja Ampat is so good that a couple of hours can go by like a blink of the eye. Even wearing a old T shirt in the water can help protect your back You’ll never regret the snorkeling, but will regret being burnt so badly you have to stop.
  • Dehydration: Be aware that you can become dehydrated whilst snorkelling Remember to drink!


Australia Barrier Reef

My Prescription Dive mask and snorkel set have travelled to many places around the world and enabled me to experience the wonders of the ocean. One place still on my bucket list to go is Australia's Great Barrier Reef. A group of over 2900 individual refs that make up one of the richest ecosystems on the planet no wonder it's a Unesco World Heritage site.

For divers and snorkelers it’s a must to don you mask and snorkel and plunge right into this magical underwater world. Many non aquatic beings get easily hooked on the sheer pleasure of snorkelling when the experience the vastness and wealth of life on this reef. If you really can’t be convinced to dip your toe in the water then there are tours by sailboat or flights that will let experience the reef from afar.

Below I am sharing with my research supplied mainly by friends and customers on the best way to see "The Reef"


Snorkelling diving

Donning a mask and fins is the best way to get a close up view of dazzling corals, sea turtles, rays, sharks and tropical fish of every colour and size. Most of the diving and snorkelling on the reef is from boats. Although there are also excellent reefs surrounding some of these islands.

Boat excursions

Day trips leave from many places along the coast and generally stop at two or three different sites, allowing about three hours of underwater time. Full day excursions to the reef cost around $200, including lunch, snacks. Some snorkel gear is supplied but it is best to invest in your own mask and snorkel for a more comfortable snorkelling experience.

Live a boards

If love diving and want to do as much diving as possible, a live-aboard boat is the best option for you. This allows you to dive up to four times a day, including night dives, and visit more remote parts of the Great Barrier Reef. Trip lengths vary from one to 12 nights, though three- and four-day trips are the most popular. Prices for a four-day/three-night trip start at around $800.

Scenic flights

For a birds eye view over the reef, take a helicopter or seaplane tour. The best spots to arrange trips are Airlie Beach, with excursions taking in the spectacular Whitsunday Islands, and Cairns, with flights over rainforest-covered Green Island. A 30-minute scenic flight costs around $270.

Reef walking

Many reefs in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef are exposed at low tide, allowing visitors to walk on sandy tracks between living coral on the reef top. This can be a great way to learn about marine life, especially if a naturalist guide accompanies you.

Where to base yourself

The reef is over 2000km long, it's big. So it's important to pick were you stay carefully. A number of towns spread along the Queensland coast serve as gateways to the reef, plus there are a number of island resorts ranging from small and secluded to surprisingly large and well visited.

Cairns

Cairns is the hub of the reef and were most tours start from. There are plenty of tour operators to choose from. The large range of tours means you can choose exactly the sort of tours and what budget you want to spend. Anything from relatively inexpensive day trips on large boats to intimate five-day luxury charters.

Port Douglas

Just north of Cairns, Port Douglas is an upmarket resort town and a gateway to the Low Isles and Agincourt Reef, which is an outer ribbon reef featuring crystal clear water and particularly stunning corals.

Airlie Beach

The small town of Airlie Beach is famed for its multiday sailing trips out to the Whitsunday Islands, an archipelago with turquoise waters, coral gardens and palm-fringed beaches. Only seven of the Whitsunday's 74 islands offer accommodation. These range from simple campgrounds to five star resorts. Bustling Hamilton Island has the largest tourist resort and its airport host the main arrival point to the Whitsundays.

Townsville

Townsville is the preferred choice for divers. Whether you're learning or experienced, a four- or five-night on-board diving safari around the numerous islands and pockets of the reef is a great choice.

Getting there

Australia's major carriers (Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia) connect Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne with airports in Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach (actually in Proserpine) and Hamilton Island. In addition to domestic flights, Cairns Airport receives a few international flights offered by Jetstar, Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand. To reach Port Douglas, take a shuttle or taxi from Cairns airport.

When to go

The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from June to November, when the weather is mild and visibility is generally good. Avoid visiting from December to March when northern Queensland has a distinct wet season, bringing oppressive heat and abundant rainfall.

What to see if you've only got five days

The Cairns area makes a good base for seeing a variety of attractions in a limited time. On day one take a day trip to the outer reef; the following day visit Green Island (or overnight at the high end resort there); the next day go snorkelling, bushwalking and beach-walking on Fitzroy Island. Take a break from the sea on day four and visit the rainforests, lakes and waterfalls of the Atherton Tableland, just inland from Cairns. On your last day, visit the coral-fringed Frankland Islands. All are easily arranged as day trips from Cairns.

Another fantastic choice is the Whitsunday Islands. From Airlie Beach book a three-day/three-night sailing trip, visiting coral reefs and pristine uninhabited islands. Afterwards spend two days snorkelling, beachcombing and relaxing amid the tropical beauty of one of the resorts in the Whitsundays.

Protecting the reef

The Great Barrier Reef is fragile and vulnerable ecosystem. It need to be treated with respect by visitors. So here are out top tips for protecting the reef:

  • Whether on an island or in a boat, take all litter with you - even biodegradable material like fruit peels - and dispose of it back on the mainland.
  • Never rest or stand on coral, and don't harass marine life. Watch where your fins are - try not to stir up sediment or disturb coral.
  • If you're snorkelling, practice your technique away from coral until you've mastered control in the water.
  • To prevent sunburn hire a wetsuit rather than slathering on sunscreen, which can damage the reef.

Diving Accessories

With many airlines cutting luggage allowances and increasing the cost of taking extra baggage on holiday, taking you diving equipment with you on holiday can be extremely expensive and sometimes not even possible!. If you buy arrange of Diving Accessories you can easily customise rental equipment with your own Diving Accessories.

Although we love using own Diving Equipment, to get to some of the most beautiful snorkelling and diving destination means cutting luggage allowance but we have always found it a sacrifice worth masking. Personally I like to take the following essentials my own mask, snorkel and fins plus a range of Diving Accessories, you can use this basic equipment and Diving Accessories for snorkelling and diving .

Other Diving Accessories I always take with me as they are generally not available in resort are of a small LED torch which is powerful enough to use on night dives and during the days for looking into nooks and crannies and the other essential Diving Accessories is a small knifemade of either stainless steel or lightweight titanium. Most diving resorts keep a check on discarded fishing line and regular check their favourite dive site for old fishing line, but I like to have small knife or line cutter with me just in case .

Lastly I would recommend that whatever Diving Accessories or equipment you take on holiday with you, that you take a bag to put all you Diving Accessories and equipment in we sell several bags for Diving Accessories and equipment and they are all lightweight and compact so are easy to pack in your luggage.


Thailand Diving

Thailand is great holiday destination it’s so easy to combine a few days of Diving in Thailand in an idyllic ocean paradise with a stay in Chang Mia which will give insight into the true heritage of Thailand or a shop to you drop experience in Bangkok. Once you get start to research Thailand Diving you will find countless Thailand Diving resorts offering you varying degrees of quality of diver centres and boat operators. Personally for me diving is about getting away from the hustle and bustle of life. When I researched where to go Thailand Diving, I came up with the little known resort of Koh Lanta



Ideally situated in the growing southern Thailand Diving province of Krabi, Koh Lanta has converted from an 80's backpacker haunt into a new hot spots in South East Asia. And while budget travelers still find ample space to cool their heels, Lanta has gone up-market in the past years with new four and five star resorts dotting its picturesque 40 kilometers Andaman coastline. The island's proximity to Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi and even Bangkok, makes it a great holiday alternative for Thailand Diving to other crowded and commercial tropical island destinations.
 
Koh Lanta is actually made of two islands; Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai. Koh Lanta Noi is the smaller of the two islands and doesn't have tourist facilities for Thailand Diving. Visitors traveling by road from the main land pass through the smaller island on the way to resorts on Koh Lanta Yai.

With white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters it’s the idyllic spot to relax between Thailand Diving adventures. Talking of Thailand diving adventure I can personally recommend the dive centre at the Pimalai Resort and Spa. You don’t have to be staying at the resort to use the dive centre for your Thailand Diving adventures and there are plenty of inexpensive hotels a short walk up the beach. They are the only dive centre on Koh Lanta to operate Thailand Diving trips from the south island. They have the fastest boat of all the local operators so will get you to the most remote, un- spoilt Thailand Diving sites in speed and comfort- you also get to the dive site first so you can enjoy it before other operators arrive with their divers.
Here is a taste of some of the best dive sites the area can offer in Thailand Diving. We found the dive sites were limited but the marine life was exquisite and of our we were privileged enough to see beautiful Manta rays on two occasion which for us was the high light of our Thailand Diving.


KOH HAA

This is one of our favorite Thailand diving destinations. Five beautiful limestone islands with a shallow lagoon and white powder beach above the surface, and a magical Thailand diving experience below. The islands are separated by deep water channels, and are famous for the exceptional visibility. With a choice of six dive sites, provide excellent Thailand diving for all levels of diver. Here you will find colorful coral gardens and fringing reefs, impressive walls, strange pinnacle formations, and huge cathedral like caves.

Marine life is both diverse and abundant for Thailand Diving , with beautiful soft corals, fans and anemones covering walls and pinnacles. The macro buff will find nudibranchs, ghost pipefish and sea horses, as well as many species of exotic reef dwellers, giant Morays and playful Octopus, whilst out in the blue Tuna and Barracuda hunt shoals of small fish in formation, creating a moving picture of silver and bronze.

Another great attraction of Thailand diving at Koh Haa is its location, just 15km. west of Pimalai. Departing at 0800 we have normally completed our first dive before anyone else arrives. After two dives with one hour surface interval, we are back at Pimalai at 1400. Leaving you the rest of day to relax and share your Thailand Diving experience with other guest or holiday makers at the resort.

PHI PHI ISLANDS

Phi Phi provides a stunning setting, for Thailand Diving with a number of good dive sites to choose from, the best by far for Thailand Diving are the Bida islands. Koh Bida Nai is also known as fantasy rock, for the pinnacles creating a playground of swim throughs on the south of the island. This is a very popular area suitable for all levels of diver, with an average depth of 10 to 25 meters. Famous in Thailand Diving for the huge Gorgonian fans found on the wall and ledges to the North of Koh Bida Nok. With limestone outcrops and pinnacles everywhere, covered with an amazing variety of soft corals and marine life. The little critters are abundant, but our favorites are the Turtles and the Leopard Sharks, which can grow to three meters in length, although you are more likely to encounter the two meter version. Koh Bida offers a great Thailand Diving experience, but it must be said that all of the Thailand Diving sites around Phi Phi can be busy. Situated North West of Pimalai we are normally return at 1500, after our two dive schedule. Occassionally visiting Maya Bay where "The Beach" was filmed for the surface interval.

HIN DAENG (THE RED ROCK)

35 Km South West of Koh Lanta, we find the most famous dive site in Thailand Diving. Many articles have been written about Hin Daeng and it is easy to see why, this is one of the most dramatic dive sites in Thailand Diving waters. The Red Rock is named from the huge red soft corals that cover the upper part of the sea mount. Rising up from the depths the peak of this rock formation only just breaks the surface, but underwater you will find a series of vertical walls and ledges that plunge down well below 50 meters on one side, and a relatively gentle slope and canyon on the other, that is home to an incredible variety of fauna and marine life.

When conditions are good the visibility can exceed 35 meters, and looking up at the rock formation surrounded by dense clouds of shoaling fish is a magical experience in Thailand Diving. Everything here is bigger, and Hin Daeng attracts many pelagic species. Rainbow Runners and giant Barracuda hang motionless in menacing shoals, while Jacks and Tuna are in perpetual motion buzzing in on the unwary. Sharks and Manta Rays are seen regularly and if you are very lucky in your Thailand Diving experience you will encounter a Whale Shark. The trip starts at 0800, returning at 1530.

HIN MUANG (THE PURPLE ROCK)

Hin Muang is the other world class Thailand Diving site in the southern Andaman and our favorite, perhaps not as well known as Hin Daeng, but easily on par with the quality of diving in the Similan Islands or any other site Thailand has to offer. Situated 500 meters from Hin Daeng, it features a series of five sea mounts or a large ridge starting at eight meters below the surface and going progressively deeper with vertical walls dropping off to 70 meters, making it the deepest dive site in Thailand.

At 35 meters the ridge breaks up into a series of pinnacles and rocky outcrops that continue, well below recreational dive limits, and almost join up with Hin Daeng. This dive site is absolutely covered with purple and pink soft corals, close encounters with huge Manta Rays are common, often in groups, and large shoals of pelagic fish are every where. Hin Muang offers everything Hin Daeng offers and much more. On good days it is quite simply awesome, and a dive you will remember for a very long time.


Snorkeling Travel Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is a great place to visit on your snorkeling travels . There are many locations were you just need to walk into the ocean from the shore to experience the delights of grand Cayman snorkeling making a very convenient place to go on your snorkeling travels. Below are just a few of our favorite Grand Cayman snorkeling locations these amazing locations make grand Cayman such a amazing place to go on your snorkeling travels.

From beach entrances to more remote locations. The most important thing for you safety to check both the entry and exit points for each location make sure you are happy with these before you get in the water The next most important thing is to make sure you have the correct snorkeling equipment, below is check list for you.

Mask and snorkel
Fins
Neoprene booties
Mask defog
Grand Cayman snorkelling fish ID card

Now you are ready to go Grand Cayman snorkeling and get the most from your snorkeling travels at this destination.


Grand Cayman Snorkeling Travel : West bay, Turtle Farm

The Turtle Farm's Mini wall is a very good snorkeling spot, for grand Cayman snorkeling travels. There are two different entrances to this location, one, in front of the dive shop by taking a step ladder or by entering in the cove right next to the Turtle Farm. The cove entrance is not as simple but the snorkeling in the cove is really great and worth the extra effort.

Take a look at the cove and make sure are comfortable with the entrance and exit before you get in. The entrances and exits are fairly simple but snorkeling booties should be worn in order to be able to walk on the rocks in the secluded cove entrance.

This grand Cayman snorkeling travel spot offers the best views close to shore right in the entrance and on "the lip" of the mini wall. By the entrance you can see amongst many sea creatures tons of juvenile fish, octopus, soft sponges and sea fans. This area is well known for the gigantic parrot fish that schools between the entrances and the mini wall, some up to 2ft long, the "crunching" noise you will hear underwater is the sound of these beautiful fish feeding off the coral and ocean floor. Parrot Fish are known for their colorful bodies and produce up to a pound of sand a year. Some of these bigger Parrot Fish species most likely produce even more sand !

Grand Cayman Snorkeling Travel : West bay, Cemetery Beach

This reef is a very popular spot for Grand Cayman snorkeling travel

This reef is a very popular spot for Grand Cayman snorkeling travel and sun bathing. This beautiful location will offer the best of both worlds, a beach entrance and good grand Cayman snorkeling travel nearby The reefs are few minutes away resting in about 20ft of water. The marine life is very abundant, of you are brave, bring some fish food with you so you can have the "Cayman Piranhas" experience. Sergeant Majors, so called "Cayman Piranhas", will literally swarm you for a morsel, better yet, look for somebody else with food so you can watch the them get enveloped by fish!

Sea Turtle are also known to frequent the area, some are as large as the biggest found at the Turtle Farm swim by on a daily basis looking for food and shelter from deep water, to sea turtle in the ocean is one of the most amazing experiences you will have on your snorkeling travels.

Being one of the most picturesque areas in Grand Cayman this spot should not be missed. Huge Australian Pines offer plenty of shade on the shore for the whole day if you are looking to spend time on the beach as well.

Grand Cayman Snorkeling Travel : George Town, Wreck of the Cali

The wreck of the Cali is an old freighter that sank right in front of George Town and is a very interesting spot to visit on your snorkeling travels.

Legend tells of the Cali taking in a lot of water and was brought closer to shore, unfortunately it was carrying large amounts of rice, which of course expanded with all the water. The Cali virtually exploded from the rice expansion. No one can confirm this story, heard being told time and time again by the locals. Truth or fiction, the Cali is a nice wreck to snorkel It rests on the Sea floor.

floor in pieces with all the ribs exposed making a really nice home for thousand of fish, giant sea urchins, eels, octopus and many other creatures. The wreck is really close to shore in very shallow waters, that makes it a fun site for all the family a very easy site to go grand Cayman snorkeling.Thsi is a great family adventure on your snorkeling travels.

Grand Cayman Snorkeling Travel : Bodden Town, Beach Bay

Beach Bay is a small cove hidden just before entering Bodden Town. You have to drive down the long Beach Bay road, about two miles, before you reach the shore. There is a small car park as soon as you get to the end of the road. From here you walk downhill to the beach and you will see the cove to the left which makes it a great spot to visit on your snorkeling travels.

This grand Cayman snorkeling travels spot is situated at the end of Pedro's Bluff, it offers a remote, untouched snorkeling experience are rare jewel on your snorkeling travels.

The entrance is fairly easy, use the small man made lagoon makes for an easy access to the outside barrier reef that surrounds the area. Because of the weather this location can be very rough so keep the snorkeling on the inside of the reef if conditions do not allow you to explore further out

The area consists of mostly shallow water snorkeling with dramatic coral formations outside the reef in about 30ft of water. The sea life is plenty full but elusive as most of the creatures are not used to seeing many snorkelers on their snorkeling travels.

Grand Cayman Snorkeling Travel : Rum Point

Magical Rum Point, with restaurants, bars, secluded beaches, boat access, beautiful mansions and great grand Cayman snorkeling travel spot. This area is "a must" for every visitor on snorkeling travels to the Cayman Islands.

Entering the Rum Point area there are several hidden beaches underneath the bluff that hold pristine coral formations in shallow waters. The snorkeling at Rum Point is done within the barrier reef so it's mostly accessible all year.

The snorkeling at the Public Beach is equally beautiful, the area holds tables and toilet for your comfort. Rum Point beach is great for viewing fish and stingrays but beware ! Do not feed or touch these rays, only look, you are not at stingray city ! were “tame” stingrays can be fed on your snorkeling travels

The magnificent coral formations can be found on your snorkeling travels by the point at the Retreat Condos. Walk over on the beach and enter the water from the condos, the coral heads are on the right about 40yards from shore.
At Cayman Kai, the main underwater attraction is the Starfish. There are plenty to look at , but please do not remove them from their habitat they have no wish to join you on your snorkeling travels! . Rum Point is a replenishment zone, the removal of any marine animal is strictly prohibited so take care not to remove any marine life so you do not get into trouble on your snorkeling travels or disturb the marine life. This is one of our favorite grand Cayman snorkeling travel spots.

If you go on snorkeling travels to grand Cayman and discover any other great snorkeling spots please let us know.

Encountering rays in the ocean is one of my favourite experiences with different rays all over the world to observe and watch gliding through the water. Recently I have been lucky enough to snorkel with both Sting Rays and Manta Rays on my travels.

Stingray City Grand Cayman

I don’t usually go on the tourist trail when I am on holiday and getting into the water with 80 other snorkelers just doesn’t appeal. However on a recent trip to Grand Cayman I signed up for the String Ray City tour. I opted for the early bird tour as most holiday makers would prefer to get up and have breakfast at a leisurely pace rather than be down at the boat dock at 8.00am. There were only 10 of us on the boat and we were the only boat on the site so it was really worth getting up early for. We jumped into the warm water (84 degrees) which comes up no higher than your chest. We were not allowed to wear fins or boots in case you trod on the rays.

The rays were amazing. They let you hold them in water and stroke their soft bellies, they danced around you waiting to be fed from the bucket of squid the crew had brought with them. You could hold the squid in your hand taking care to tuck your fingers in and simply feed the rays, who would dance and splash around you waiting for their treat. At one point I had four or five rays bumping up against me. I had left the main group and was having my own private encounter and it was wonderful.

However do remember that these are wild creatures and they are called stingrays for a reason! As long as they are treated with respect and not cornered or feel threatened, they are gentle magic carpets who love have their tummies rubbed.

Manta Rays in the Maldives

Manta Rays are something else. Enormous gentle creatures and very easy to encounter whilst snorkeling if you are in the right place at the right time. You usually get them in groups feeding on plankton at the lunar tide. One of the best places to encounter them is Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives. They have the most amazing dark limpid eyes that will stare right at you as they perform a swooping dance feeding on the plankton. If you stay still and observe they will dance closer and closer to you criss-crossing over each other in an elaborate underwater ballet.

As they are plankton feeds the water is usually green and murky because this rich food source is what attracts them but it adds to the atmosphere as these creatures slowly appear from the gloom.

From above, the rays are great black silhouettes, scything streamlined shapes that fishermen called “devil fish” because of the curious horn-like fins hanging down near their mouths. But side on and up close you can look into their eyes and get a sense of their peaceful nature. Unlike stingrays, mantas don’t have venomous spines in their tails, and unlike many fish species they seem to enjoy human company. They tolerate our presence and sometimes perform loop-the-loops through the air bubbles exhaled from scuba gear.

Adapted for fast swimming with flattened and perfectly hydrodynamic bodies, they can accelerate rapidly with a twitch of their tapering wings. They gaze at human swimmers with a kind of knowing calm, something people commonly express when they try to capture the emotion they feel after seeing them.

When feeding, the mantas of Hanifaru are often happy to stay near the surface, making them accessible to snorkelers just as much as divers. They seem not to mind the human competition in this quiet small space, and indeed they are often joined by other rays and even giant whale sharks, which also feed on the same plankton.

Divers and snorkelers alike fall in love with them and swimming with manta rays imparts a sense of peace, once you have encountered then you will never forget them.

 

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