In the Maldives, there are several cleaning spots called “manta points,” where the manta rays meet on a regular basis for some skin care. The team at National Geographic made one of these points public in the year 2008—Hanifaru Bay, which is situated in the Baa Atoll, northwest of Malé. The bay consists of little more than a big bank of sand with some small reef blocks in the middle of it.
Up to 200 mantas have been reported at the same time, feeding in the bay where there are large concentrations of plankton. They perform marvelous behaviors in the bay, swimming a short distance from one another so that the plankton that doesn’t get filtered by one wide-open mouth streams into the mouth of the next, forming a big cyclone.
Scenes like this made the bay famous but also attracted an influx of tourists. The authorities therefore restricted the access to the small bay and only alternately let the live-aboard and resorts come in to visit the manta rays. It is here where true manta magic happens…
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