This was a day to remember!
After familiarising ourselves with the Misool Eco Resort house reef and surrounding, we decided to head further afield to search for manta rays.
One of our original purposes in coming to Raja Ampat at all was the proliferation of
mantas, both oceanic and reef.
We'd fallen in love with these beautiful creatures after seeing them during a free
dive in Laamu Atoll some years ago.
magic mountain, our destination, is a sea mount some fifteen minutes from
Misool Eco Resort. It serves as a cleaning station for the many creatures
visiting the sea mount.
Including mantas—and on this day, eight in total!
We spotted a black reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) immediately upon entering the water, with another two smaller mantas cruising in from time to time. This manta was quite skittish to the accompanying SCUBA divers, and also hanging out in the area of highest current, which made photography somewhat difficult. After some time with this manta, we came across another set, and this one very, very friendly! We spent a good 45 minutes free diving with two in particular who were happy to come right up to the camera.
One thing not captured in these images is the difficulty: the current is very strong, making free diving a tremendously strenuous effort.
(I've also included some shots from later that day, SCUBA diving right at the Misool Eco Resort jetty.)