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Hanifaru Bay - Maldives Manta Madness
 July 17, 2009 @ 09:27 AM (EST)

Hanifaru Bay in the Baa Atoll of the Maldives has been quietly becoming a hot spot for underwater photographers over the last year or so. This small bay of the uninhabited island of Hanifaru, about the size of a football field, is home to a very unique seasonal phenomenon. Plankton blooms during the months of May - November can attract feeding mantas by the hundreds. Yes you read correctly, there can be at times up to 200 mantas feeding in this small bay! As if that were not enough, there are often large handfuls of whale sharks feeding along side of the mantas.

Sounds hard to believe? Check out this video to see for yourself (Courtesy of Aqua Dreams Imaging).

Chief photographer of the Save our Seas Foundation, Thomas Peschak (featured in the DPG Pro galleries), recently shot an assignment for National Geographic about Hanifaru. The images are fantastic and really tell the story of this unique aggregation of feeding mantas. Watch the behind the scenes video (below), narrated by Thomas himself.

 
Underwater Photography Hanifaru Bay - Thomas Peschak

The Save Our Seas Foundation is responsible for funding the research that the National Geographic article is based upon.

 

The Maldives consists of over a thousand islands dispersed throughout 26 atolls  in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Hanifaru is located in the Baa Atoll.

Maldives
Hanifaru Bay
Apparently Hanifaru Bay has also become a tourism attraction for snorkelers. With large numbers of people entering the water, it is feared that the human impact may potentially alter the feeding behavior. The Maldivian government has recently pledged to protect the mantas by enforcing guidelines for divers and snorkelers. It is nice to see a government ccommited to preserving the natural behaviors and environments for their inhabitants. To us it may be "manta madness", but to the mantas it's simply lunch.

 

 

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Matt J. Weiss
Jul 17, 2009 12:33 PM
Matt J. Weiss wrote:
thats absurd
Shafraz Naeem
Jul 17, 2009 1:54 PM
Shafraz Naeem wrote:
It was amazing videoing the mantas and whale sharks there last year. Another trip in a few days time!!! Can't wait!!!!
Jason Heller
Jul 17, 2009 2:11 PM
Jason Heller wrote:
Shaff, awesome video, it really captures the unique setting. And congrats to Thomas for the Nat Geo piece! The images are really impressive!
Shafraz Naeem
Jul 17, 2009 4:34 PM
Shafraz Naeem wrote:
Thanks a lot Jason. I will get u more photos and videos in a few weeks time.
Mike Bartick
Jul 17, 2009 5:55 PM
Mike Bartick wrote:
Stunning....great work!!
Jeffrey De Guzman
Jul 26, 2009 11:38 AM
Jeffrey De Guzman wrote:
Amazing.... Jason what about organizing a trip to Hanifaru?
Jason Heller
Jul 26, 2009 12:56 PM
Jason Heller wrote:
@Jeff - we're working on that as we speak :)
Jeffrey De Guzman
Jul 26, 2009 12:58 PM
Jeffrey De Guzman wrote:
YAHOO!!!
Shafraz Naeem
Jul 26, 2009 1:52 PM
Shafraz Naeem wrote:
Me and my team are diving there every weekend!!! Great footage!!!!
Jeffrey De Guzman
Jul 26, 2009 10:18 PM
Jeffrey De Guzman wrote:
Shafraz - what month is the best time to go?
Shafraz Naeem
Jan 15, 2010 10:57 PM
Shafraz Naeem wrote:
The best time to go is between july and august. Depends on the weather and currents as well.
Chris Knight
Jul 26, 2011 7:37 PM
Chris Knight wrote:
Tom,
Great piece but it is indeed a very delicate area. I was shocked whilst there lat September by the crass inconsideration of several dive operators. This is a very special site. But only so long as EVERYONE recognises it.
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