Nervous swimmer realizes beautiful giant manta ray is circling him
Upon surfacing after a dive in the Galapagos Islands, this diver was making his way to the small boat to be picked up. He had a short swim to reach the boat and as he approached, he saw a giant shadow between himself and the boat. He could not immediately make out what the shadow was, but it was moving quickly and circling him. He had been recording the dive with his GoPro and he held the camera out on front of him as he tried to make out the figure. The waters in the Galapagos Islands are home to thousands of hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, and many other large creatures. A seasoned diver, he knew that encountering any of these animals beneath the surface is rarely dangerous, but to have one circling you at the surface with interest can present a very different scenario. Divers near the bottom do not look like food to most sharks, but at the surface, the silhouette and glare can create misunderstandings and occasional danger.
This diver was relieved to discover that the circling animal was actually a giant manta ray, one of the most graceful and beautiful animals in the ocean. With a wing span that can reach more than 20 feet and can weigh over 3,500 pounds, these rays are massive. As the ray circled slightly closer, the diver was rewarded with a brief glimpse of the manta.
Mantas are a welcome sight for divers and a close encounter is unforgettable. They are gentle creatures that eat plankton, krill, and tiny fish. Having no barb or stinger like many rays, their only means of defense is to rapidly flee from a threat. Manta rays have been known to show curiosity when they encounter people. They don’t have teeth and they pose no threat at all to humans. After the initial concern, this encounter was breath taking.