This week in Lembongan… The storms, rain and big waves of last week have now left us and the sea has calmed down, meaning that we have been able to get back around the island to the manta dive sites. We went to manta bay a few times this week but one dive really stood out and it wasn’t only because of the manta rays we saw. It was truly a spectacular dive at Manta Bay.It was a calm morning, the sun was shining and all the divers were ready and excited about getting the chance to see some manta rays. We set out to have a look at Manta Bay first. Manta Bay is the area where we mostly see the manta rays close to the surface feeding, because of this, we take the time to inspecting the different bay areas looking to see if we can spot any mantas on the surface. If we do spot some mantas feeding, then this is where we start the dive.
Once we reached Manta Bay, there was a few dive / snorkel boats around and we took a few minutes to search the bays. After our cruise around and a quick chat with the people on the other boats, it seemed like the mantas were not out to play that day. With no mantas around, we thought we would try our luck at Manta Point. As we left Manta Bay and started heading in the directing of Manta Point we passed a few dive boats returning from Manta Point. Again we checked with these passing boats to see if the mantas were present there, but unfortunately, it seemed there was not going to be any mantas today. With some quick thinking from captain Rendy, we decided to dive Crystal Bay first and come back to Manta Bay for our second dive and test our luck then.
On our return trip there was a lot less boats and we were able to spot one manta ray feeding at the surface. We got ourselves geared up and into the water, the visibility was super good and we were able to see around 20+ meters. This is uncommon at the manta locations, which normally have an average of 10 meters. We were able to get a quick look at the manta when we first got under, but he did not stay around long. The dive groups continued along the dive site for a few minutes, when all of a sudden the ray came guiding back to where it was feeding. This time around he stayed with the divers for around 15 minutes. He put on quiet a show for the onlookers, flying back and forward along the wall, barrel rolling and feeding.
After enjoying the playful manta, the groups continued their dive around the bay. All divers were very happy that they had such a spectacular encounter with a manta, that anything else on top on that would be a great bonus. But it wasn’t only manta rays the groups got to see. While spotting different kinds of nudibranchs hidden amongst the reef, Bryce’s group was lucky enough to also spend some time with a small green turtle, who was also taking things slowly and inspecting the reef.
Towards the end of the dive, all the groups also got buzzed by two different manta rays that were just passing by. Our Divemaster trainee, Eann, had to duck as the manta flew very close over his head. To top this spectacular dive off, just before making their way up shallower for their safety stop, the divers also spotted a bamboo shark free swimming.