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Manta Ray Dive

6 Jun 2011, 03:21 UTC
Manta Ray Dive
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The night was clear as the boats shined their lights into the waters off West Kona. Standing in fins at our boat's dive platform, I placed one hand over mask and regulator, then took a Giant Step into the black water. Equalizing pressure on descent was difficult this night; our dive leader had to turn back when he could not equalize. Finally we settled on the bottom, in a rough circle like a campfire. We shined our dive lights above us to attract plankton and waited. We were hoping to meet with creatures who were as adept in this underwater world as we were clumsy.Courtesy of Big Island Divers, this is what we saw the night of May 25. First one Manta appeared, then another, eventually a dozen surrounded our group. The Manta Ray is a gentle filter-feeder, living off plankton and small shrimp. Our dive lights attracted the plankton into glowing clouds above each diver. Nearly every night in this place Manta and human meet in a regular ritual. Attracting Mantas to this spot took years of patient work. These big creatures, with wingspans up to 4 meters, effortlessly turned and dove among us. Many times a Manta would ...

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