Manta - most famous kind of ray, which became a hero of many legends due to his outstanding appearance and huge size has became a hero of many legends. "Manta" is translated from spanish as a «cloak». There is a legend saying that if manta meets a human in the ocean it wraps him with its «cloak» and catches away on the seabed. A second name - "sea-devil" manta got because of its front fins, looking like horns. In fact, these "horns" are kind of "spoons" that help him to grab food into his big mouth. Of course, both versions are figments of fishermen's imagination, who were terrified of gigantic size of manta. In fact, manta ray is not dangerous to humans - they are calm and friendly and unlike other kinds of skates, it doesn't have a poisonous spike on its tail.
There are two species of manta rays in Maldives : Reef Resident (Manta alfredi) and Giant Oceanic (Manta birostris). These closest relatives of sharks are real sea giants: adult oceanic manta can weight up to 2 tones, with length 2 meters and wing length of 7 meters. Coloring of manta rays, black from the back and the snow-white on the belly, provides a perfect camouflage from enemies. Their brain weight (to compare with their body) - is the most heavy among known fish, so it could be the most «clever» fish in the world!
Manta while swimming is a spectacular sight: it glides into the water like a bird, helping itself with graceful movements of fins - «wings». Sometimes mantas jump out of the water to a height of 1,5 meters, and then flop into the water with creating a cloud of spray and a loud bang. Probably, this is the way they transmit signals in the pack, jammed small prey and even get rid of parasites!
Manta - viviparous fish, female bears fetus of 12 months, after which literally "shoot" into the water 10 kilogram baby, twisted into a roll. Kid quickly unfolds its wings and follows the mother. Manta rays live 50 to 100 years.
Baa atoll is famous for accumulation of manta and whale sharks which come here for feeding from May to November, when ocean water is rich in plankton. Snorkeling with these giant sea creatures is a popular tourist attraction, which is possible in Hanifaru bay, marine protected area. Hanifaru bay, located in a 20-minute speedboat ride from the Kamadhoo island, is unique because dozens of manta ray and few whale sharks can be seen here in one time. They come here like to restaurant to enjoy the “plankton soup» and, being obsessed with food, don’t pay any attention to snorkelers, so you can swim very close to these quiet graceful creatures for better observation.
We organize snorkeling trips with manta so you could see with your own eyes this miracle of nature!