Due to the strong current and low visibility, we had to do a negative entry (i.e. descend rapidly head first) to the dive site. I was in a lot of pressure because if I f*ck up the entry, I will be drifted away and will miss the dive. I am new diver and the condition of this dive site is not suitable for me however, LUCKILY, my Dive Instructor promised to take care of me throughout the dive. So, bring it on!
Less than 5 mins after descent, we saw an oceanic manta ray about 4 meters wide hovering on the edge of the reef.
We swam towards it but it went away to the blue. We kept swimming and feasted on the glorious view of what seems to be an underwater heaven – tons of fish, colorful corals, etc.
A few moments later, we found another manta much larger than the first one, 6 meters wide (largest recorded was 8 meters). This one was not shy at all.
Without any warning, my instructor pushed me towards the manta. My eyes popped. I can’t believe it!
Shouting is not possible underwater so all I could do was make a sound like that of Chewbacca lol. My instructor held me while I stay beside the manta. I was literally less than a foot away from it. It was almost touching me. I was screaming inside. I was scared, what if it will whip me!!! My goodness, I was about to cry.
I looked at my instructor like what the heck are you doing?!? He gave me a nod. I was puzzled. I took a pause. I looked closely.
The manta was just there. I mean, not aggressive, not shy, not hurting me. So, I asked myself, why am I scared again?
I did not capture any videos of the manta but here’s a youtube clip to show you what I am talking about.
I observed it for a good 2 mins or so. Slowly, I calmed down and came to my senses. I see it’s eyes looking back at me. Observing. Calm. Quiet. My fear gradually turns into amusement. I started to realize how great this was.
There was no reason to be afraid. Just a moment to enjoy. Not many divers will ever experience this the way I did. I was joyful… I was grateful.
Without a doubt, it was the most incredible close encounter with a GIANT manta I will remember for my whole life.
Thank you darling for the adrenaline rush.