Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Manta Diary...

Another posting from one of our interns, this time from Gareth Jeffreys a student at Aberystwyth University in Wales, seems like the male interns are the writers this year! Sounds like they are having fun though!

Saturday 12th September.

Dear Diary,

Today Tori, Abi, Dominique, Ciara, John and me took to the Seychelles
south seas for only the third time to find, i.d. and research more whale sharks but what we discovered was even more astonishing than we could ever have expected. After Katie had assured us and other friends on board that we simply don't see manta rays around these shores a call came over the radio from our microlight pilot Johan there was a whale shark 200m to our right in a heavy bloom of plankton surrounded by a school of, you guessed it, manta rays!

When we arrived, the whale shark had dived but with a little pleading from all of us Luke gave us the go ahead to enter the water, and what swam in to view had to be seen to be believed. Devil rays coming at us from all angles, moving in formation, flying like fighter squadrons as they passed us by. Large pelagic manta rays, over 3m wide, swimming vertically until they touched the surface and barrel rolling continuously back down through the plankton in to the murky depths.

Later, Johan assured us that from the air what we had in fact jumped in on was a school of up to 200 devil and manta rays. An unbelievable experience I doubt I could ever have again.

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