Manta Ray Cleaning Station

Manta Ray Cleaning Station

And they’re back! One of the Maldives’ most beloved creatures, the manta rays, have returned to Bojahamadi, the manta cleaning station that can be accessed from Maayafushi.

Recently, Shareef and Jessy took a group of Maayafushi guests to the site and were lucky to spend more than two hours with these majestic creatures. At one point, nine mantas were cruising around the group!

But what exactly is a manta cleaning station?

It’s a reef outcrop where mantas will go to have their bodies cleaned by the small cleaner wrasses. These fish clean the parasites from the mantas’ bodies and remove any food leftovers from the mantas’ massive mouth. Cleaner wrasses, small and not very mobile, make full use of the mantas’ need to get cleaned as this means they get food delivered to their door. What is a mutually beneficial relationship for mantas and cleaner wrasses is a spectacular underwater sighting for divers as they can observe how mantas hover over the reef and enjoy the free spa treatment, unbothered by the divers’ presence.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the mantas will stay around throughout the season, so we can show them to as many of you as possible. In addition to that, more mantas means more opportunities for us to have pictures of their bellies taken (mantas have dark spots on their bellies and they’re unique to each individual, just like human footprints), which we can send to the Manta Trust / Maldivian Manta Ray Research Project for identification purposes. That way, we can hopefully find out more about the mantas visiting our surroundings and share some interesting insights about individual mantas with our guests!