Mantas? Holey shit mantas. We dive a spot in the open ocean, three small rocks jut up out of the blue and are surrounded by quite a shallow shelf. I think the deepest we went in 78 min. is 48ft. Haven’t even cleared my ears and Debbie races towards me wide eyed. What did I forget my reg again? She grabs my arm and points up. A manta cruises above me close enough I could scratch its belly. 5 minutes later a monster shows up and circles us twice. I have to guess and the water does magnify but it was maybe 5M across. Holy F_____! can be heard on the video I was taking. It was big! We putz around for another 60 minutes or so and see very little, then the armada arrives. First a group of three, then close behind two more. They fly by extremely close. Two of them circle back for another look and we enjoy a symbiotic vision of them. We have done a couple of the night dives that particularly attract Mantas but this is the most action we have seen on a regular daytime dive. Fantastic.
The water is getting rough so we head back to the shelter of a bay for the afternoon dives. On dive two one group comes up with stories of a pod of dolphins that visited them. As we are dressing for our third dive the dolphins come by the mothership and we get to have a look at them from the rear deck. Raja is not particularly known for dolphins so this quite a treat.
Diving here is as good as we have heard. The coral is in pretty good shape, the soft corals are better than any we have seen. Abundant, multicoloured, brightly coloured, and feeding even in the daytime. There are so many nutrients in these waters the little animals feed constantly. There are fish everywhere. We swim, bellies to the sandy, rubble bottom and out of nowhere a school of 1000 fish swims by. Nudibranchs inch along on every dive. There are the ‘non rare’ ones of course but there are plenty of multicolored ones we have till now only seen in books. More stunning in person then in pictures.
Travelling Raja on a ‘yacht’, around island, in and out of bays, across straits, and on the open sea is a thing of the movies. It is quite surreal to get up in the morning open the drapes and a rain forest island is fading off into the distance only to be replace by another. Sitting in a bay eating lunch outside on the front deck with a canopy shading the sun and a cool off the water breeze tempering the heat is more than idyllic.
Ah well, tomorrow will soon be upon us and we will again dive beneath the surface to see what other unusual suspects we will run into.