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Thread: Divers swim with manta ray

  1. #1
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default Divers swim with manta ray

    Swimming in the shadow of a 16ft wide manta ray this diver appears to be a little too close to comfort.
    Three times the size of a human being, the enormous creature looks like something you might want to avoid bumping into in the middle of the ocean.
    But despite its monstrous appearance, this ray is a gentle giant and happily let a group of divers swim alongside it.

    Graceful: A diver swims towards the camera in the shadow of a giant 16ft Manta ray

    Instead of swimming away from the divers the sociable animal, who was part of a group of eight rays, appeared more than happy to play with its new found friends.
    Diver and professional photographer Franco Banfi took these incredible pictures in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Socorro and San Benedicto Islands.
    The 50-year-old, from Cadro in Switzerland, said the creatures were particularly fascinated with the diver's air tanks and would hover above them to 'catch' the bubbles.
    He said: 'These are wild animals and you're never guaranteed to find them when you dive.
    'We know that they are sometimes shy when divers are underwater - particularly when we're dressed with the normal equipment which lets out a lot of bubbles and noise.
    'But here the mantas seem to look for the divers.
    'It was an incredibly emotional moment because it wasn't just swimming - these mantas stayed with the divers.
    'They were totally free and they could have swum away but they chose to stay.'

    New friends: The rays, which are usually shy around humans, stayed with the group of divers for several minutes apparently fascinated by the air bubbles from their scuba equipment



    Plain sailing: These pictures were taken off a group of eight manta rays off the coast of the Socorro and San Benedicto islands

    The manta, also called the Mantra birostris, is the largest of the ray species and is mainly found in tropical waters.
    They have been known to grow up to an incredible 25ft across and weigh up to 2.5 tons.
    Manta rays glide through the water and can reach speeds of up to seven miles per hour.
    Mr Banfi said: 'They stopped two or three metres above the divers' heads and delighted in feeling the touch of the bubbles from the air tanks on their bellies.

    'It was a thrill for them when the bubbles burst against them - it was like a delightful hydro massage.

    'This wasn't the first time I've seen this species of manta but it was absolutely the first time I experienced this extremely unusual interaction.'

    Gentle giant: The massive creatures have been known to grow up to 25ft across and swim at speeds up to 7mph



    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1281024/Divers-giant-manta-rays-hydro-massage.html?ito=feeds-newsxml#ixzz0otjZeRN7

  2. #2
    Elite Member ariesallover's Avatar
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    How amazing. The first shot has that guy swimming awfully close to the barb.

    I learned that the local aquarium actually has a swim with the sharks day. I wonder if anyone would be angry if I tried it and peed myself.
    "I ransacked his drawers when he left me by myself at his place for the first time. That's how we did it in the good old days. Tells me all I need to know about him. He pretends he didn't notice. That's how good relationships start." - Chilly Willy

  3. #3
    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Those things are hyooge!!!! What a great experience that must have been.
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    Silver Member Doctora Pepper's Avatar
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    I've always found rays to be adorable.

  5. #5
    Elite Member calcifer's Avatar
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    awesome underwater pics. they're fascinating & elegant creatures.

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    Gold Member latinaforever's Avatar
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    everything is always "wow" or "ooh" until someone loses an appendage or gets impaled- people need to leave wild things alone.
    When you're strange
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  7. #7
    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
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    WTF? Touching them is not very wise.

    I once came across one of these while scuba diving in Mexico. Scared me shitless.
    Last edited by Chilly Willy; May 25th, 2010 at 04:01 PM.
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    Mantas dont have stingers. That's just his tail. They are strainer feeders of tiny little critters.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    They're harmless things, but fascinating creatures.. like something out of a sci fi movie.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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