Manta rays are stunningly beautiful sea creatures with strong familial ties to sharks. The manta rays and the sharks belong to the same biological group, the elasmobranch. Their pectoral fins are wing like in structure, which gives the appearance that the manta ray is flying as it glides along the water column. These creatures have been in existence for more than five million years, and their age, body structure, and behaviour continues to spark curiosity and wonderment amongst scientists, marine life lovers, conservation activists, and underwater diving professionals and enthusiasts.
They are a big tourist attraction everywhere they are located. If you love sea animals, diving, then you should definitely observe these rays up close in their natural habitat. Diving and snorkelling with these rays can be absolute fun for both you and the manta rays, which are known to subtly enjoy human company as they swim along the ocean.
There are some specific guidelines you need to follow in order to ensure that you behave accordingly while out diving with the manta rays. Following these tips will guarantee your safety, the safety of the other dive crew members, as well as the safety of the manta rays, and the other marine life that you will find.
- Stealth is key
When you spot a manta ray, approach it stealthily in order to ensure that you do not spook it. In addition, avoid making any noise as you approach the rays so that they do not become agitated. Approaching slowly, and noiselessly ensures that you can observe these creatures without interrupting their normal activities, enabling you to capture them in their natural element.
- Avoid the flash
Flashy photography should be kept at a minimum as the flash of the camera can scare, agitate, and/or disorient the manta rays. When this happens, you will be unable to observe them comprehensively, denying you maximum enjoyment from the experience.
In addition, even if you do use the flash in your camera from time to time, it is imperative that you do not point the flash directly at the eyes of the manta ray that you are photographing.
- Do not touch
Avoid touching the manta rays throughout the time you spend observing them underwater. Touching them as they go about their normal routine is frowned upon as it will disrupt their peace, cause them stress, lead them to panic, and to develop a severe distrust for human beings. Just let them be, and refrain from disturbing them at all costs.
- Keep a safe distance
Manta rays are usually considered harmless despite their gigantic size. However, it is appropriate to keep a safe distance from them. Manta ray experts usually recommend that you keep a distance of approximately three meters from the rays, which is the equivalent of 5 feet.
However, if they do come close to you, remember to not panic. They are generally harmless and probably curious, and they will be on their way in a short time. Unlike the sting ray, the manta ray does not sting. If they do come close to you, remember the above tip and refrain from touching them. Simply observe their majestic nature, and respect them and their homes.
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