When you have been told that you have less than a year to live, you do everything you can to cross as much as as possible off your Bucket List. This week, I spent four days on North Stradbroke Island (just off Brisbane in Queensland, Australia) with Spunky Abe in search of the majestic manta rays that inhabit the Bucket List of every scuba diver.
This post is just a small snippet of the extraordinary encounters I was privileged to have during my six dives to the Manta Bommie dive site. Manta rays come to this ‘cleaning station’ to have any parasites removed from their bodies by the smaller fish there to service them. When divers stay still and low and resist the urge to swim alongside these creatures, spooking them to swim away, the curious mantas will come very close indeed, absolutely dwarfing their human admirers.
This beautiful creature had a four to five metre wingspan. Several times during this clip, it chose to glide directly over my head within arm’s reach so that it could feel my bubbles on its tummy. A few times, I needed to move my arms and head out of the way so as not to make contact with the manta’s gently gliding wings or tail. Needless to say, I was in absolute awe during the entire experience.
While I have much footage and lots of photos to edit from my eight dives at ‘Straddie’ – featuring manta rays, grey nurse sharks, leopard sharks, guitarfish, bull rays, turtles, eagle rays and more – I could not resist sharing this short film with you before I leave the island.
When I return home, I will create another film to share and share some amazing stories about my trip to the beautiful North Stradbroke Island. I will also begin to plan my next Bucket List trip which I will take as soon as humanely possible. Will it be cage diving with Great White sharks in South Australia, or a close encounter with Humpback whales, whale sharks or tiger sharks? As soon as I’ve booked it in, I will let you know 🙂 (For the record, I arrived home from Straddie on Monday night and left for my Great White Expedition four days later 😛 )
Love and bubbles,
ps Enormous tanks to my new dive buddy Sean Butler for all of the photos of me with mantas attached to this post – you were brilliant to dive with Sean – I really appreciate it! 🙂
pps Tank you for watching this video of this majestic manta ray encounter! While you are here, please check out some more of my underwater adventures 🙂
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