(Hanamoenoa Bay, Tahuata, Marquesas, French Polynesia)
After their two hour visit yesterday morning, we could only hope to be so lucky as to see the manta rays again. And wouldn’t you know it we were! Like clockwork we checked the backyard when we woke up this morning and there they were. A couple less than yesterday morning but they were there nonetheless!
Back in the water, we enjoyed another mesmerizing swim with these beautiful creatures. We quickly learnt the best way to get real close to them was to let them come to you. They harboured no fear at our presence. In fact, they seemed more curious than anything. Circling continuously in our own personal manta ray diving pool. Walled in by nothing but the manta’s obvious preference for the locale, and our serious joy that they were simply there. Watching them loop-de-loop through the water, pumping heaps of water through their open gills was a sight like no other.
The more time we spent with them the more they seemed to have individual personalities of their own. There was the medium sized ray with the defining mark on his wing that loved to show off with endless loops and thrilling tricks. There was the large, overseeing ray who soared around keeping tabs on everyone, not afraid to look you straight in the eye and let you know who’s boss. Then there was the little attention-starved ray, who if you weren’t giving him the face time he thought he required would brush by you, gently touching you with his outstretched wing reminding you he was still there and still wanted to be seen.
I just finished Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life On Earth (thanks Ryan Moore for leaving it!). His story is terribly interesting and drills in an incessant push to forever progress and grow in life. A belief that we should always be striving to be our best. Our best for ourselves, but also for all those around us. With consecutive mornings like these it’s pretty hard not learn and grow. Life on the boat is always throwing you little gems – or in this case big manta rays – to constantly broaden your understanding of the world and most importantly remind you to appreciate every stinking moment.