This video was taken in April 2013 while diving in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. The depth was about 20 feet. Lighting was ambient. I used a Sony CX760v in a Gates housing with a 32GPA port. Editing was done in Vegas Pro 12 using NewBlue ColorFast, Mercalli 2.0, and NeatVideo.
Mantas congregate around cleaning stations where small wrasses and other fishes remove parasites. Cleaning stations are located in shallow, murky water – the preferred habitat of the cleaners. Mantas visit the cleaning stations daily. If undisturbed by divers, the mantas return day after day, month after month. Often they will visit the same cleaning station for years provided the cleaners are still there.
Divemasters arrange their divers in a circle around the cleaning station. Divers then hunker down and wait. Some days the mantas don’t show. Other days they do. Divers are not allowed to move from assigned spots, and they are not allowed to touch the mantas or interfere with their behaviors. This is one of the reasons the mantas feel comfortable returning to the same locations.
Our divemaster told us mantas are curious creatures and may single out divers for a closer look. I was fortunate enough to have several mantas circling me. I believe they were curious about the port on my housing. This port has a slight dome shape and may have reflected just enough light to catch their attention. While I cannot promise your Gates port will attract mantas, well, you know the saying . . . "Don't take a chance, take a Gates!"
I have wanted to dive with mantas since I was a child. I cannot adequately describe the awe I felt being in their presence. I could watch them for hours, and indeed, I did. In compiling this video, I tried to convey with pictures that which I cannot convey with words.
If you visit Yap, consider staying at Manta Ray Bay and diving with Yap Divers. Although I work on a liveaboard and I dive six months a year, this was my first diving vacation in 7 years. Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers does an excellent job. I thoroughly enjoyed being a tourist!
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