I finished my DMT on the 10th with one of the most memorable and insanely overwhelmingly beautiful display of manta life I’ve witnessed, or even my mentor Rowan has witness. A 65 minute dive where we undertook some unknown swim throughs, slipping in and out of overhangs as the swell ebbed and flowed, using it to our advantage. As it picked up we decided this might not be the best idea anymore as we were moving sometimes 3 meters at a time with it. Unable to hide from it, Unable to fight it, it brought us where IT wanted us to go.On our return into the bay, in the poor visibility of that day, was when they appeared. Some people say manta rays aren’t social. they’re “loners” so to speak. I’m still yet to see evidences of this, as every time I’ve witnessed a group together they always seem to display some sort of social characteristics with each other, a type of underwater manta-play. They appeared out of the blue and over head us. They were gliding gracefully while we still battled with the swell. then they stopped. right over our heads, 9 fully grown reef mantas, 1 massive and definitely late in pregnancy, and a melanistic all black manta (ninja manta). they stayed, hovered, moved back and forth between the cleaning station that lay less than 15 meters from where we were. We found a coral-less rock area and hooked in to watch the show. to see how these creatures interacted with each other and with the ecosystem was mind blowing. each taking their turn, in order, to make its way over the cleaning station before departing and making way for the next. F1 pit lanes can’t come close to the level of efficiency this watery world has to offer and the service the cleaning stations provided for these mantas. The symbiotic relationship that these cleaner fish and mantas have with each other is priceless. They need each other, they rely on each other, if one were to disappear the other would surely follow.
After 25 minutes of watch this I looked at my pressure gauge which read 50 bar. I signaled to Rowan who was, and always is, about 20 bar ahead of me that I’m low on air. We looked at each other, eye to eye, in a situation that doesn’t happen very often and decided to stay. We were at 8 meters. We hadn’t gone past 11 meters and our no decompression limit was in the hundreds of minutes, we would be ok. Another 15 minutes passed and as the swell picked up so too did my breathing and before long, I was at 40 bar. Signalling to Rowan we locked arms and i got on his alternative air source, signalling lets go up, noticing he was now on about 40 bar himself. We began our safety stop with the most outrageous overhead view of what was going on. I got back on my air to take those final few breaths before we surfaced. When we were both positively buoyant we took our masks off and high 5’d about a million times. Simply put, the best hour of my life so far. Unbelievable.
Back on the boat, packed our gear, sat in silence as we withdrew from the dive site for my last time. smiling from ear to ear but with a bittersweet taste in my mouth as i knew that it would be my last dive for at least 2 weeks. Heading back to the mainland, to look after other business.
Its been almost a week now since I have been away. I’m depressed. My skins dry. My eyes run from the fumes littered out by passing bikes and cars and vans and trucks. I miss my island. I miss my routine. Waking up at 6.30 am, knowing that I was about to witness some of the most majestic underwater scenery the world has to offer.
It went too quick, I had too much fun, I never thought it would end but all these sadness gives me an internal motivation to pursue my Diving Dream even further. I remembered my first day. To work even harder, to get better and better.
My time at Two Fish was the best 2 months I could have asked for. The staff, the shop, my accommodation, the island and the people on the island. For the first time in my life I don’t have a single complaint – except i spent too much money on Bintang, but that’s my issue.
Big love goes out to Rowan (a.k.a Ryan Goslings body double) and Bryce (Mr. Safety Stop Robot) They’ve shown me the light.