Diving with Manta Rays in Bali – Manta Point, Nusa Penida

Manta Ray Fact File:

Fan Zhang captured this great image when diving with Bali Scuba at Manta Point, Nusa Penida.

Manta Rays are amongst the most majestic, enigmatic and unique creatures of our oceans. Historically little has been known about them and it was only a relatively recent discovery that there are two distinct species of manta; Reef Mantas (Manta alfredi) and Giant or Oceanic Mantas (Manta birostris). Reef mantas are smaller with pectoral fin spans of up to 5.5 meters whilst Oceanic Manta Rays can span 7.5 meters. Manta Rays have ‘spot patterns’ on their ventral sides (underside) which act much like fingerprints and make it possible to identify individuals – each manta’s spot pattern is unique.

 

Manta rays have unique spot patterns on their underside – just like fingerprints! Fan Zhang captured this manta rays fingerprint perfectly!

Both harmless species of Manta are seen around Indonesia but the majority of sightings are reef mantas. Reef mantas are non-migratory, they live in relatively large populations and they inhabit specific areas where they clean and feed. At Nusa Penida we have a resident population of reef manta rays and we know just where to find them! Our Manta Point dive site has a number of shallow cleaning stations and some deeper areas where we also see these amazing rays feeding. We frequently see manta ray “mating trains” where numerous males will follow one single female – copying her every move – it’s an extraordinary sight. Every now then we are lucky enough to see passing giant manta rays here too – they are truly enormous. It is no wonder that Manta Point is known as one of Bali’s best dive sites.

 

One of our resident manta rays at Nusa Penida. Picture by Ivan Choong when diving with Bali Scuba.

Reef mantas are plankton feeders and their unique ‘cephalic fins’ (the two fins that spiral down on the front of the mantas head) make them very efficient feeders. The fins can be moved independently of each other to direct and maximize the flow of plankton into the mouth. In areas where there is a particularly rich concentration of plankton the mantas are often seen barrel rolling (turning somersaults) – this enables them to stay in the same spot collecting large quantities of plankton whilst dispersing as little of it as possible.

 

If you are planning to visit Bali for diving then Manta Point is not to be missed. There is nothing more incredible than up to 20 huge manta rays swooping and gliding overhead!

For more information about our Nusa Penida day trips and discount dive packages check our “Diving Trips” tab at the top of this page or click here: https://www.baliscuba.com/bali-dive-sites/

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