These stunning pictures of manta rays feeding at night were taken by top underwater photographer Dave Hogan.
He was with me and a group from City Divers including divemasters Jodie O’Rourke and Garrett Hickey on a fantastic Maldives safari in January.
These magnificent creatures are Manta Alfredi or reef mantas not to be confused with their bigger relative Manta Birostris or giant mantas.
I’ve done more than 2,000 dives in some of the best diving spots on the planet including the Red Sea, Galapagos, Cocos, Borneo, Indonesia and Malaysia and this was THE best night dive of my life.
It was in just 12 metres of water in a lagoon where our safari boat was moored for the night.
And for an hour we were entertained by five magnificent mantas feeding on plankton illuminated by lights from the back of the boat and powerful spotlights rigged on the sea floor to shine upwards.
To witness the balletic grace of these huge creatures – which can weigh a ton –acrobatically spinning and rolling in the water just inches from our torches was incredible.
The lights on the sandy bottom and the beams from the divers’ torches create a “runway” of light for these gentle giants to navigate a flight path like vast stealth bombers.
If you want to get your PADI Reef Diver speciality on next year’s City Divers’ Maldives safari – spaces are limited to just 12 people. Dates May 4-11, 2019.
During the six-day trip you will learn about manta anatomy, feeding, cleaning, reproduction, conservation efforts, and proper techniques for diving with mantas.
Contact me for details:
Michael Hamilton Tel: 07976 365776
The dive guide on our safari boat Sea Spirit and marine biologist Anne Marie Kitchen-Wheeler has spent the last five years “educating” the rays to associate the bright pool of light with a midnight feast of microscopic shrimps and fish.
She’s one of only FOUR people in the world to have a PhD in manta behaviour and ecology.