Swimming with the mantas
08 September 2011 | Komodo Islands
michael and jackie
From Rinja we threaded our way Northwards through the reefs to Gili Lawa Laut, a blissful uninhabited island. Well there were a few deer on the beach, and a few dive boats came and anchored close by. We spotted a nice area of sand close into the beach and dropped the anchor. We were surrounded by gorgeous coral reefs and a circling manta ray. Not satisfied with what we had the following day we dinghied out to a nearby rock along with Will and Margaret from Atlantia, a beautiful wooden English boat which even has a bath on board!! The snorkeling at the rock was excellent. Unfortunately Will and Margaret lost their dingy anchor so we returned while they dived for it. But this was beaten by a snorkel through a pass between our island and Komodo Island. We jumped out of the dinghy and drifted through with the swift current towing the dingy behind us. The bottom shot past a quite a rate of knots. We passed shoals of blue and yellow fish and loads of large fish all feeding off the plankton in the current. On the quite long way back to our boats we spotted a manta, about 8 foot wide. Michael jumped in. It was his turn with mantas as Jackie had snorkelled with them in Fiji. The manta turned and swam towards him curving like some kind of creature from science fiction. The sheer size of these fish is quite scary, even though they are just playful filter feeders. The drift snorkel was so superb that we returned the following day and did it three more times. To top it off a manta came and joined us on the third trip through, curving and diving through the water.
That evening the mantas returned and spent a good hour circling around the bay. We jumped into the dingy and followed them, jumping in to snorkel with them - they seemed more than happy for us to swim alongside and on top of them - a wonderful experience to end a truly great day.