It is currently ‘Manta Season’ at Baa Atoll. And for ocean lovers like me and my friend Yoyo, this is the best time to visit the area.
We took a 45-min domestic flight from Male’ (Velana International Airport) to Dharavandoo in Baa Atoll and as soon as we arrived at the hotel around 12noon, we already asked them to call the Dive Center if there is a Manta Snorkelling Trip in the afternoon to Hanifaru Bay.
Not satisfied with the information from the reception, we went to the Dive Center as well to double check but they haven’t spotted any Manta Rays.
For those who doesn’t know, Baa Atoll, specially Hanifaru Bay is a Biosphere Reserve where Manta Rays and Whale Shark show up during the season (June to November) and in big numbers, especially just after the full moon. But of course, these are wild animals. There are also some chances of not seeing them at all.
So what the Dive Centers do is, they use the drone to check whether Mantas are swimming in the area. And then they will call all the guests who wanted to join the Manta Trip. That’s why we informed them as soon as we arrived in the island to keep us informed in case any Manta decides to show up.
On our first day, there were no Mantas. The same on the second day. We only have 4 days in the island. They told us that 2 days before we arrived, they saw about 15 Manta Rays and 4 Whale Sharks.
We were still hoping.
In the meantime, I kept on snorkeling on the house reef while waiting for the call from the dive center while Yoyo went scuba diving. It’s very interesting though as all their types of fish that I saw in the house reef were mini versions on what I usually see.
Finally on the 3rd day while we were lazing in the room, almost falling asleep after lunch, Yoyo received a call. There were 30 Mantas on site. We told them that we will be at the harbour in 10minutes. After Yoyo cancelled the call, we started running around, changing clothes and running down without even getting a chance to apply sunscreen. We didn’t even wear slippers. We just ran. And when we passed by the dive center, the guides were slowly cleaning their equipment and said, ‘we’ll meet you at the harbour!’
Our heartbeats were racing when we reached the harbour. There were three other people there who were also joining the trip. We stood there waiting. Panting. Sweating,
10minutes passed by. And another. Then we saw the dive center crew slowly walking, Rasta style, as if they were walking to the beat of Bob Marley’s music.
Then we took a dhoni to Hanifaru Bay which took about 15 minutes.
By the time we jumped into the water, there were only 3 Mantas. I was still happy too see 3 Mantas but I wished to see more (so greedy right?) but can’t blame these wild animals. Although in my mind, I was blaming the Rasta people for being so slow.
But anyway, the trip was good, we’ve seen Mantas and that’s the most important thing.
Here’s a photo of two of the Mantas I have seen and below is a video clip of what I was expecting to see.