Dunia Baru guests are often treated to a dive or snorkel with manta rays. Of course, this can’t be guaranteed but our crew does know some fantastic dive spots where mantas are often seen.
Around Raja Ampat you have the chance of seeing both the oceanic (Manta birostris) manta ray, which can grow to seven meters in width, and the smaller reef (Manta alfredi) manta ray, which reaches about 5,5 meters. Both species are harmless to us humans – they eat zooplankton – and watching them glide through the water is truly a spectacle.
Mantas are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They sometimes die after becoming entangled in fishing nets, are killed for their gill rakers, which are used in Chinese medicine, and are also threatened by pollution and overfishing.
Here’s a quick look at the life of manta rays, through numbers:
50 – the number of years mantas can live to
12 to 13 – number of months gestation of manta rays
1 or 2 – number of pups each birth cycle
1350kg – the weight of the largest mantas
400m – the depth to which Manta alfredi can dive
50 – the number of mantas you could see together in one group
$40 to $500 – the value of a dead manta ray
$1-million – the amount of money manta tourism can bring into Indonesia during the life of one manta ray
The photo here was taken by our cruise director Leah Sidel, while on a dive with Dunia Baru’s guests.