Stunning Manta Rays, Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia

Saturday 12th April 2014

Today was a brilliant sunny day and the first time in ages to have the whole crew together; Mark, Nick K, Nick R, Tom and myself as well as Jess, Shannon and Gary who we knew. The other extras on the boat were also quite experienced so Manta Lodge gave us the option of going to Boat Rock which is an amazing dive site, known for current and depth.

We rocked up at Manta Ray bommie to do our first dive, and you could see the bottom from the boat. The visibility was a crystal clear thirty metres with no swell, surge or hint of current, I was the first in the water. Despite seeing three Mantas on my descent I took a few minutes to perfect my white balance on the camera and then proceeded to get close to a huge Manta ray.

With the amazing visibility there was always at least one Manta Ray in our view the entire dive. The guys saw five Mantas circling at one time, and I got to spend some alone time filming several Mantas that touched my camera dome as they were that close.

Because the conditions were simply superb and everyone was buzzing after our first dive, we decided to stay at Manta Bommie for the second dive.

The second dive was another amazing one. I went for a swim out wide and found another three smaller Mantas circling around a rock. I spent some time with a large Sting ray in the sand and a delightful Leopard shark.

A large Loggerhead turtle came up to Mark’s face as if to suss him out and that was pretty amazing because it looked like they were embracing. It then proceeded to walk through the sand towards the camera, and over a ledge where it found a nice nestling spot in which to nap.

Today I saw in total about nine Manta Rays, and because we were all calm experienced divers in the water they stuck around us the entire time.

I did a sixty five minute dive and a fifty seven minute dive. Water temperature was a cosy twenty six degrees, what a fantastic day of diving! and so good to spend it with my favourite people. Headed home afterwards for beer and pizza! Perfect end to a perfect day.

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