Sunday, November 15, 2009

Diving with the Manta Rays

Spud is a fin tugger! He almost stopped my heart several times on the dive.  He gives my fin a violent yank (this is not Spud’s version) and I leap to the conclusion that he has seen a hammerhead shark.  But no, it’s a giant sponge or a sea star twirling and pirouetting alone the reef.  We dove with the Manta rays! This has been a dream of mine for some time.  Pictures will have to wait till we get home and get them off the other camera.  Five rays at once were at the cleaning station.  Each under belly has a different marking, from black to white and every variation of mottled pattern in between.  Some of the mandibles are curled and some are straight.  They are curious and gently glide over you as long as you stay still.  The majesty of the wings gently gliding or stroking through the water is mesmerizing.  The soft corals are browns and beiges, splashes of green, violet and yellow. The anemones often have starry tips of sparkling pink.  The feather stars come in all different colours, black and white patterns, or with luminous edges of lime green, yellow or white.  One person said he had never seen the lime green except here.  They cling to fans, coral and sponges.  The sponges can be up to 2 meters high and across.  The sponge is covering in feather stars clinging to it as their temporary home. Damsel fish are all around it. You almost feel you will have to bat them out of the way to swim forward.  Morey eels nervously poke their heads out with their teeth waiting for dinner to swim by.