Swimming with Giant Manta Rays

One of the highlights of a SeaTrek Komodo trip is the opportunity to snorkel with giant manta rays at Karang Makassar or Manta Point, which despite – and because of – the strong currents, is one of the most interesting places in the Komodo National Park. Manta Point is a cleaning station, a specific location where manta rays come to get cleaned by parasitic copepods and a variety of small cleaner wrasse species that pick parasites from the mantas’ hovering bodies. Mantas spend many hours every day getting cleaned and can even wait in line for their turn.

The word ‘Manta’ comes from the Spanish for cloak or shawl and when you see these gentle giants with their black dorsals and white underbellies, you will understand why. Reef mantas average between 3 and 3.5 metres in size from wingtip to wingtip, and will consume vast quantities of plankton and small fish each day by filter feeding.

Manta rays are exceptionally graceful swimmers, they must keep moving in order to keep water flowing over their gills, and they appear to fly through the water as they flap their large wings. The water at Manta Point is clear with good visibility, making it possible to spot the mantas with relative ease. In fact, you are almost guaranteed to see them here. Drifting on the current with your mask and snorkel, just two metres above one of these beautiful creatures is an experience that will remain with you forever.