Manta Ray Fiji
These magnificent creatures inhabit the waters around our island almost on a daily basis between May and October. There is no better or closer place to see them.
The channel to the North of Barefoot Manta Island is a very special place. It is the only known location in the Yasawa island chain where Reef Manta Rays (Mobula alfredi) can be found on a regular basis. Globally, mantas are still very poorly understood, but at Barefoot Manta we have been studying the local sub-population since 2012 (in association with Manta Trust) and we have noticed some consistent patterns on the movements and behaviors of these majestic ocean giants. The earliest sightings of the year occur around April and the latest occur around October, with the highest chance of an encounter coming in the months of June and July. The research we conduct allows us to identify the different individuals that arrive at this special location (there are currently over 80 individuals that have been documented since the start of the study) as well as studying their social behavior and ecology (each year of the study we have observed complex courtship rituals and social interactions in the vicinity of the channel).
In order to collect the data for our research project and also so that we can provide our guests with the best chance of being able to get in the water with these graceful nomadic seafarers,the conservation and dive staff periodically patrol the channel to see if any manta individuals are present. We are the closest resort to the manta channel and so are best placed to detect when any mantas have arrived, and so by using a combination of boat checks, snorkel checks and drone technology to search, if a manta has arrived, we will often be the first to know. Swimming with a manta ray is one of the most life changing experiences one can do; their grace, elegance, size and majesty combine to take one’s breath away. At Barefoot Manta we are very conscious of the impact tourism can have on the behavior of the local individuals, and so we are very strict with how humans must behave when they are in the water with a manta, but this ensures the population is able to stay healthy and function as normal for years to come as well as providing our guests with the longest possible encounter (a stressed manta will leave very quickly whereas a comfortable manta can stay in the channel for several hours at a time). If you are interested in experiencing one of our planet’s most captivating natural wonders, look no further than Barefoot Manta.