Another day searching for manta rays. First we went to Batu Bolong, and had a wonderful dive where I saw lots of fish.

Yesterday we had a fish ID test, and I don’t think I did very well. So before I went to sleep last night I tried to remember all the families of fish. And today on Batu Bolong I tried to remember the name of every fish I saw.

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Diagonal-banded snapper (Plectorhinchus lineatus)

One of the fish I saw was a diagonal-banded sweetlips (Piectorchinchus lineatus). I managed to take a photo, but it is not a perfect shot. Hopefully I will have a chance to get a better ID photo.

Next we went to Karang Makassar, where all of us were hunting for mantas!

Finally we found one, and it was huge! I even managed to identify and record its behaviour. The manta was at a cleaning station, being cleaned by lots of butterfly fish. The manta was surrounded by divers, and after a few minutes he left. Perhaps it was shy, but I couldn’t help thinking about the conversation we’d had yesterday with the National Park Authority about dive site carrying capacities.

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Butterfly fish clean a reef manta at a cleaning station

We continued looking for mantas, and eventually found one more. This manta was swimming away from us, but luckily I was able to take a photo ID. Although it was far way, I was glad that I managed to take a photo of the manta’s ventral side.

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A distant ID photo!

Finally we saw one more manta, right at the end of the dive. This one was swimming, but I was unable to take an ID photo. Three mantas today! And the first manta was the biggest one I’ve seen so far. Lastly, before going up, we saw another manta swimming but I was not able to get a photo ID.

The first manta today was the biggest one I’ve ever seen! I remember it clearly, it looked so elegant on the cleaning station.

Before returning to Labuan Bajo, we were able to visit the beach on Sebayur Island. We had to swim from the boat, about 200m to the shore. I was reminded of the swimming test we had to do on our first day. We’ve done so much since then, and the time has flown by!

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On the beach at Sebayur Kecil

When we got back home I transferred my manta ID photos to my laptop, and recorded the species we’d seen in my eco-logbook.

I hope I will see more mantas before the end of my internship. Fingers crossed!

Niomi Pridina

Niomi Pridina

Niomi earned her B.Sc. Marine Science from the University of Padjadjaran. After successfully completing MIP-2014, she joined MantaWatch as the Education and Research Coordinator, and participated in MIP-2015 and MIP-2016 as a trainer and mentor. She has worked as a communication intern for the International Pole and Line Foundation, where she helped to communicate and […]