Chaos on the Surface

Ocean Manta KomodoNusa Kode,one of the southern most bays in Komodo National Park, also known as Horseshoe Bay, put on quite the show for everyone onboard Mermaid II this week. It wasn’t the famous Komodo Dragons either, that are residents to the bay and spend their days roaming the beaches hoping for tasty treat to wash ashore. It was the four or five giant oceanic mantas doing graceful back flips on the surface accompanied by what seemed to be a hundred or more mobula rays who took a much more aggressive
approach to consuming their food source.

Oceanic mantas, the larger of the two manta species, are seldom seen inside Komodo National Park and their sudden appearance made the boat buzz with excitement. oceanic mantas KomodoOur attention was drawn to this rare event after one breached just next to the boat and landed with a resounding slap. As we took the dinghies closer to investigate we noticed several of these gentle giant beasts cruising on the nutrient rich surface and performing a feeding method I have never seen in person. Instead of just swimming in straight lines with their mouths open wide they were doing a backwards summersault instead. They would beat their wings several times to get up some speed then quickly arch their back sending them in to a perfect backflip. Not only that, but whatever the mantas were feeding, hundreds of mobula rays seemed to enjoy the taste as well. As they mantas somersaulted around our dinghies, the smaller mobulas would come charging all at once, wings beating franticly on the surface, as they siphoned up the bounty the ocean had provided them on this day.

Mermaid II Bali-Komodo-Bali Diving Cruise
October 1-8, 2016

Alex Lindbloom