SWIMMING WITH GIANT MANTA RAYS IN BALI
Mar 6, 2017
We are gliding across the crystal clear water, Nusa Lembongan is fading away in the background as our boat nears the coast of Nusa Penida. The aim of the boat journey is to head to Manta Bay and hopefully locate some giant Manta Rays not far from mainland Bali.
The coastline is stunning and we pass many arches and natural cascades along the way. Without even seeing a Manta Ray I am already satisfied with how we chose to spend the morning. The trip cost $15 USD and includes three snorkeling locations for 4 hours total.
Once we arrive at Manta Bay and begin looking for signs of life, it appears there are many other boats doing the same. Our guide spots a Manta Ray and orders us into the water. Unfortunately, the Manta Ray didn’t want to stick around and I only caught a glimpse of it gliding away.
We swam around for half an hour looking for Manta Rays but they seemed to be elsewhere. There was a significant amount of trash floating in the water, which was alarming. You would hope that in a place where animals are known to congregate the conditions would be clean but unfortunately rubbish washes into Nusa Penida from all over the ocean.
We clambered back into the boat and left Manta Bay, searching for a new spot. With no luck up and down the coast, we began to believe we may not be in luck. Until all of a sudden a huge group of boats called us over and we hopped in the water. More than five Manta Rays playfully looped around the bay, entertaining the large group of snorkelers.
The Manta Ray isn’t dangerous but it is still intimidating when a 5-meter creature swims straight at you before ducking away at the last moment.
We hung out in the bay until we could hardly swim anymore. The experience was unreal. I think this was even better than swimming with Whale Sharks in the Philippines. However, just like swimming with Whale Sharks, I didn’t feel totally comfortable with the experience. The amount of trash in the water was crazy. I bumped into numerous plastic bags and pieces of rubbish while swimming on and below the surface.