Something very fishy
Trip Start Sep 23, 2004
77Trip End Ongoing
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The highlight here was most definitely the snorkelling. We gave up on scuba diving here as we were taken to their best dive site, and the reef just off the resort knocked spots off it.
After a day or two the weather became cloudy and also got windy. With the sea all around us, it didn't stop us doing much. The snorkelling was still great, and we also kayaked over the channel to a nearby island. We shared the beach there with a multitude of hermit crabs and a solitary dog, who seemed very pleased to have company and howled when it was time for us to leave. We were also lucky enough to snorkel with the manta rays. The rays are migratory and sometimes stop in a channel near Nanuya Balavu, but hadn't been sighted for a few weeks before we arrived. Luckily, the rays decided to time their return with our arrival on the island. When the rays were sighted, we were alerted by lots of shouting and banging on a hollow log. I grabbed a camera and snorkelling gear and we bundled into a boat, which took us to where the rays were feeding. We saw one surface, and jumped into the water to follow it.
The experience was so breathtaking I decided to repeat it when we heard the drum the next day. There were more of us swimming this time. The rays were slower, spending more time in one place feeding. They didn't seem at all bothered by us. There were five altogether, gliding and circling, diving deep down then rising up in a loop with their mouths wide open to funnel in plankton. They would come up almost underneath me, so close I could almost touch them. Their mouths were cavernous, and I could see their ribs inside them. At the top of the loop the fish would be upside down, showing its belly and gills, then it would swoop downwards to flap away or bank and repeat the process. The manta rays were such graceful creatures, it was like watching an underwater ballet unfolding beneath me and beside me. Each time I spent 45 minutes in the water with the rays; it was a definite highlight of the trip!
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