The “manta madness” season is already underway in the Maldives, as the rays migrate north and turn up in their hundreds to feed in Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll – frequently joined by whale sharks.
Manta Expeditions, a UK-registered company affiliated to charity the Manta Trust, arranges carefully timed expeditions for divers to observe these spectacular gatherings, as well as dropping in at other marine-life dive-sites in Baa, Raa, Lhaviyani and North Ari atolls.
7 and 18 September mark the start of two 10-night expeditions on the Seafari Explorer 2 liveaboard, where guests can benefit from having their encounters guided by Manta Trust experts. These trips are planned to coincide with the most productive south-west monsoon winds and lunar currents, when plankton blooms influence the movements and feeding habits of reef manta rays.
The four-deck Seafari Explorer 2 caters for 24 guests in 12 en suite cabins with air-conditioning. And the price for full board with three daily nitrox dives / snorkelling excursions and airport transfers is a competitive US $2,560pp (about £2,130) for two sharing, excluding international flights, park fee, tax and service charges. Find details and book here.
Meet Doug Allan
Also in September, divers not out in the Maldives are invited to celebrate World Manta Day with the Manta Trust and one of its celebrated patrons, wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Allan is well-known for his work on Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Ocean Giants among many other wildlife documentaries, but in “An Evening With Doug Allan” on 17 September he will be focusing on manta ray encounters. Guests can meet the man himself in the lead-up to the 90-minute event, which starts at 7.30pm and also features Manta Trust trustee Dr Emily Humble.
Tickets are still available at £15, or £10 for children and students, with all proceeds going to the trust’s global research, education and conservation work. They can be purchased online through Ticket Source.
Also on Divernet: How To Dive With The World’s Biggest Mantas