Mantas encounter during our snorkelling trips

Mantas encounter during our snorkelling trips

Now that the Northeast Monsoon season has arrived in the Maldives, the manta rays that frequent the North Male Atoll have moved from the east to the west side of the atoll and are now regularly seen at Rasfari and Bodu Hithi reefs.

During the last snorkelling trips organised by TGI Maldives Sangeli, up to 10 mantas were encountered on a single trip.

These beautiful creatures gather at cleaning stations, where they socialise and receive a ‘spa-treatment’ from cleaner wrasse, a small species of fish. It is easy to watch them at the cleaning stations as they tend to move slowly and circle around and don’t seem to be bothered by the presence of snorkelers.

Before getting in the water, we will provide you with an extensive briefing on mantas and how to appropriately interact with them to minimise disturbance. We enter their world after all and want to do this with respect for the animals and the environment.

While on these trips, Mat, our marine biologist, obtained some identification shots from various mantas. They can be identified based on the spot pattern on their belly, which is unique for every one, much like a human fingerprint.

So far, 14 mantas have been identified and the Manta Trust Maldives have provided us with some interesting information about the individuals we saw. Here are a few examples (from left to right in the pictures below):

– Scorpio: first identified in 2006, it seems to prefer the area around North Male Atoll
– Bunder: sighted over 90 times in Baa and Rasdhu Atoll, it seems to have moved to the west side of North Male Atoll for this North Eastern monsoon season
– Simon: first identified in 2007 on the east side of the North Male Atoll, it likes to visit Baa Atoll as well. Given its very pale backside and belly with a few spots, this manta is what scientists call a ‘leucistic’ manta, meaning that this animal has a partial loss of pigmentation resulting in a merely white appearance.

We are very looking forward to welcome you on our next manta snorkeling trips and enjoy amazing manta interactions with us!