Yesterday I had an experience many people dream of. I swam with 17 giant Manta Rays.
One of my closest friends on this island is a dive master from the mainland of Portugal. She knew it was a dream of mine to see the Manta Rays, so she invited me to join their dive group and go explore under the sea.
I had no idea what to expect, or where we were going. I knew it was possible we wouldn’t see any Manta Rays at all. But if we didn’t see any, it would be fine. I was along for the ride. Which was beyond beautiful.
We left the harbor at about 9:30am and headed out to our first dive spot, a place called ‘Joao Lopes’. There were 3 of us snorkeling (I took a dive certification course years ago, but because of ear problems, I cannot dive), the rest of the group was diving. This spot, about a mile offshore, was deep but we could still see the bottom. I swam around, looking at fish and trying to stay close to the boat, when I spotted my first Manta Ray. It was really incredible. She was huge! She swam near me, then past me. I swam as fast as I could, trying to follow as the graceful giant flew through the water.
I was smiling, feeling happy and peaceful when we headed to the next spot. A famous dive spot called ‘Ambrosio’. This spot is three miles offshore and in very deep water. Very deep, very blue. At 45 meters deep (about 150 feet) even the divers did not go to the bottom.
The captain of the boat spotted them first, he stopped the boat and said quietly “Tiffany, get in the water right now, nice and slow” and as soon as I did, I was surrounded by Manta Rays. They were swimming in a beautiful spiral formation. I was literally inside their magical circle.
I was quiet on the boat ride back to the harbor. I felt a little seasick, but mostly I was just in awe, speechless. Nature. So much magnificence.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ” – Albert Einstein