Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Diving, Mantas Off of Rincha Island, Monday, 04 July 2011 9:39pm

Four dives today. The first two were on the south side if Komodo Island, at a site called Manta Alley. Not surprisingly, the chief attraction is manta rays. We were descending for the first dive when a large manta swam right under us, and it got better from there. We used reef hooks to hang out by a cleaning station where mantas circled as small fish cleaned parasites off of them. We swam through a channel where the mantas were doing flybys. At the end of our second dive, I was doing my safety stop (you spend 3 minutes in water 10-20 feet deep to let some nitrogen escape from your blood before you return to surface pressure) and I kept getting distracted from the depth gauge on my dive computer by mantas passing on my left. They met up on my right and eight of them flew around in formation: a leader, one right behind the leader, and then two rows of three mantas behind that.

After Manta Alley, which was a bit tiring because of the currents (mantas are filter feeders, so they like areas where a current brings in lots of plankton), we visited Yellow Wall, which was muc more relaxing. A leisurely swim along a wall reef with a huge amount of stuff to see. A grey reef shark checked us out at the beginning of the dive, but decided we weren't very interesting and left. There were lots of nudibranchs, sea sponges, and a sea apple.

The night dive was interesting. A mostly sandy slope with widely spaced sea pens. Many of the sea pens had other life hanging around them, like small shrimps, or a cuttlefish. We also saw a small orange octopus that was annoyed by our lights. Ali, the dive master, kept tapping a patch of sand with a carrabiner on the end of a stick. After a few taps, a bobbit worm struck for it! I surfaced a little early and treaded water for a bit. With each stroke of my fins, luminescence sparked.