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The best places to dive with rays

Getting up close with a manta ray is every diver’s dream. These majestic, elegant yet peaceful animals glide easily through the ocean and make up for a truly magical experience that you will never forget. Manta rays can grow up to 7 meters and live at least 50 years. Although these gentle giants can be found in many places around the globe, they prefer warmer, tropical waters like the Indo-Pacific. Some favourable dive sites where you’ll have higher chances to swim with these graceful creatures, are the Socorro Island in Mexico, Kona in Hawaii and Raja Ampat in Indonesia.

Approx. 1 hour travel time. Steep sloping reef with best done as a drift dive as there is always a slight current with occasionally strong currents. Very good for one-way dives.

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Lankan is a cleaning station for manta rays and scuba divers visiting often get to see an amazing manta show, one of the highlights of any trip to the Maldives.

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Manta Point / Makassar Reef

Makassar Reef, aka Manta Point, is located in the central area of Komodo National Park. It has a rubble bottom and is a beginner friendly dive site. Max depth is 18 m. This site is considered a drift dive.

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Koh Tachai Pinnacle/The Dome

The Dome is a hidden reef point located about 500m south of Tachai Island. A large dome-shaped bedrock shaped like an upturned plate is dotted around a large granite boulder. The top of is at 12 meters and the current can be the strongest in the area depending on the conditions. As a result, there are many large predatory fish such as blue and white trevally, bluefin tuna, barracudas, manta rays, and whale bays.

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This site is located in Marigondon, Mactan Island, Cebu, it can be accessed within about 5-10 minutes from Mactan Island. Site consists slope and a straight wall. Entrance to the cave is at about 30 meters, and the depth of the cave bottom is within 38 meters. Sometimes strong tides, so watch tide tables.

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Located in Koganezaki Park, you can enjoy various flowers depending on the season, and entry/exit is very easy to do due to the ramps and handrails. When you enter, you’ll see a wide range of gorotas up to a few meters deep, and beyond that, you’ll see an entire surface of the sand.

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Gordon Rocks, Galapagos

Near to the Santa Cruz Island and also known as the “washing machine”, you find the Gordon Rocks. Due to currents and upwellings, this dive site is suitable for advanced divers. On this site you will see hammerhead sharks and the famous oceanic sunfish (mola mola).

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Roca Partida may seem like it is out in the middle of nowhere, sitting approximately 70 miles west of Socorro and 85 miles from San Benedicto, but it is thriving with life. Accessible only by liveaboard, this is an advanced dive on a pinnacle that rises from hundreds of feet of water.

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Alcyone is an underwater mountain off Cocos Island. Strong to very strong current is always possible. Dive on the rope. There is a maximum depth of 30 meters. Great dive experience required! This is a great dive site that is always worth it!

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Manta Ray Heaven

Manta Heaven is one of three typical spots where dive operators out of Kona take divers for the famous manta ray night dives. Get ready for the show of a lifetime as huge manta rays swoop right over head at these cleaning stations while you circle around a single light source that attracts them.

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Discover the world’s most fascinating aquatic life

Aquatic life under our oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams is amazing! From microscopic zooplankton to the largest animal on earth, the blue whale, underwater life comes in all possible shapes and sizes. With 71% of the earth being covered with water, it is no wonder we are so fascinated with what lies beneath the surface. In fact, scientists estimate that there are nearly 1 million different species of aquatic animals. Freshwater ecosystems are home mainly to fish, invertebrates, and reptiles, whereas the ocean contains a wide array of marine life including fish, mollusks, crustaceans, reptiles, sharks, and marine mammals like whales, dolphins, seals, and manatees.

Closely related to the saltwater stingray, freshwater stingrays are cartilaginous fish classified into two different families based on their geographic locations. Also called river stingrays, the Potamotrygonidae rays are found in the rivers of tropical and subtropical South America, being mostly concentrated within the Amazon Basin. These beautiful rays are generally small compared to their saltwater cousins, growing up to 46 cm (18 inches) wide with long tails, are very rounded, and have colorful spots of different sizes against a dark background of black, brown, or gray, depending on the species.

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Giant oceanic manta ray

With fins as wide as wings, manta rays soar along ocean currents like birds in flight, making them one of the most elegant animals of the sea. The name ‘manta’ comes from the Spanish word blanket and with a wingspan of up to nine meters, it’s easy to see how they can look like a blanket floating in the sea. Scuba diving with mantas is one of the most amazing experiences any diver can have underwater.

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Reef manta ray

The reef manta ray is the second largest ray species in the world next to its close relative, the giant oceanic manta, growing up to 3.5 m (12 feet) wide, or more. In fact, these two types were considered a single species until 2009 when they were officially split into two distinct species. Reef mantas can be found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Unlike the deeper dwelling giant oceanic manta, they prefer shallower waters and are typically found cruising over coral reefs and other coastal habitats.

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Like manta rays, eagle rays are among the largest rays. The best known and most popular species is the spotted eagle ray, one of the most beautiful rays and among the most desired to be seen by divers. These animals have the unique ability to move both forward and backward using their pectoral fins. You will never forget observing these majestic movements while diving with eagle rays.

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With over 500 different species of rays identified, this group of cartilaginous fish are more varied then their cousin the shark. Stingrays derive their name from their long, skinny tails, many of which have poisonous stingers used for self-defense. Due to these predominant stingers, please take caution when diving or walking through waters with stingrays. As long as you keep a safe distance, you can experience beautiful dives with them. They are mostly found on the seabed where they hide under the sand and feed on fish, crabs, worms, snails, and other mollusks.

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Electric rays, also known as torpedo rays (or torpedo fish), are a cartilaginous fish in the ray family named for their unique ability to generate an electrical shock. Found worldwide in warm and temperate ocean waters, they use this electric ability for defense and capturing prey, so take caution when diving with electric rays because, although they are very docile, they can be harmful if accidentally touched or stepped on.

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Skates are a large suborder of cartilaginous fish within the ray family, consisting of more than 150 different species. They are similar to electric rays and stingrays with their flat body shape, flat pectoral fins extending the length of their bodies, and mouths located on the underside of the body. They are benthic feeders, spending the majority of their time camouflaged on the ocean’s floor and are distinguishable from other rays with their round to diamond-shaped form, sharp “noses,” and two dorsal fins on their tail.

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Appearing as the perfect combination of shark and ray, guitarfish represent their own family of cartilaginous fish, displaying characteristics reminiscent of both. They are famous for their elongated, flattened bodies, ray-like wings, and two dorsal fins on their tails, taking on the shape of a guitar, giving them their common name. Also known as banjo sharks or fiddler rays, there are roughly 50 distinct species covering three different genera.

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