Manta Diving Tips From The Solmar V

As we hit the mid-way mark of our 18th season of exploring the Socorro Islands, we'd like to share some Manta Diving Tips from our seasoned divemasters and instructors.

No Need To Go Deep: The mantas are used to being in shallow water (50 feet to the surface) as that is where nearly all of the cleaning stations are. Socorro mantas (our theory based on watching them for 18 years), for some reason, have accepted divers as part of the cleaning cycle and approach very closely. So, don't go deep - they will follow you, but all you'll lose is bottom time and available light.

Let The Mantas Do The Work: The up to 20 ft. mantas are bigger and faster than any diver alive! Why chase after them? Instead - maintain neutral buoyancy, relax, and let the action come to you. It may take a pass or two for them to get close and "hover" right over you, but it will happen if you are patient. Once they do start to hover - they'll be with you for the rest of the dive...  

Why Do Mantas Like Some Divers, Not Others? While we don't know exactly why - we do see mantas interacting with some divers more than others. Photographers and divers without cameras - so we know it's not cameras, strobes, or video lights. More than likely - it's how calm you are when they approach. The calmer, the better. Quick, jerky movements seem to put you in the Manta "dog-house". 

Why Do the Mantas "Hover" Over Divers? This is part of the cleaning station behavior that the mantas use when being cleaned by their favorite cleaner, the Clarion Angelfish. They "hover" with flared wings to signal cleaners they are ready to allow them access to nip off parasites - and also to indicate "no aggression".  

How Close is "Close"? With Socorro mantas - close is 3 feet or less. As a matter of fact, you may have to slowly "back up" underwater to photograph them. Do this calmly, and they'll stay right with you - slow and gentle movements make for lasting Manta encounters!

The crew of the Solmar V knows all of the best manta diving spots at the Socorro Islands - courtesy of our long experience in the area. The mantas do move around, and weather conditions change - take advantage of our seasoned crew's manta experience to make sure you get to the best sites!  We've had to dip into our pocket of "secret sites" on more than one trip this season. 

This article is from the Solmar V eNEWS Article Archive

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