My Day with Mantas
Contributed by Keren Stretch
Coming to Australia I had no illusions about how good the diving could be. We have been hearing how good the Barrier Reef is for years now, and it is good, but has anyone heard of The Coral Coast ('Where is that?' - I hear you ask). Well it is the coastline that surrounds Bundaberg in Queensland. My friends and I heard about this dive operation that go to some pretty good dive sites there. We thought we would try these people out. They took us out on Dolphin Chaser their boat. Alan and Keren were great - before we had even stepped foot on their boat we felt like we had known them for years. They told us they would take us to a couple of their dive sites and said we would be guaranteed to see lots of fish and we could see some Manta rays and if we were lucky we would see Silver manta rays.
We were all very excited, but we have been told we would see mantas on the Barrier Reef and didn’t, so did not hold our breaths Before we knew it we were at the dive site and kitting up with much anticipation. We descended the line to see fish swarming around us just a few metres below the boat and then a dolphin came straight at us and then another. They circled us and squeaked at us. We were just hanging there watching them. Then we saw a dark shadow below and then another and another and so on.
We could not believe our eyes and we did not know where to look first. Manta rays came from all directions. One past right over my head and headed towards my friend who was dwarfed by it’s huge body shape Looking closer we could distinguish between each Manta ray and two of them were silver. Each came closer to look at us and we were mesmerised by them. We just sat there watching them glide over us, we just wanted to sit there all day, Luckily they stayed and we had three more dives that were all awesome.
Did I forget to mention the Eagle rays - we had four of them and stingrays were everywhere, and the fish you just could not count them. It was great, the best dives I have ever had.
Thank you Alan and Keren for such a great time.
John, David and Spence from USA