Manta Magic

Yesterday I had an experience many people dream of. I swam with 17 giant Manta Rays.

Blessed by the Manta Magic
Blessed by the Manta Magic

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.

We passed a fishing boat on our way to Ambrosio
We passed a fishing boat on our way to Ambrosio

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 Beautiful Island of Santa Maria at a Distance
The Beautiful Island of Santa Maria at a Distance

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.

Manta Rays in The Azores
Manta Rays in The Azores
A friendship blessed by the Mantas
A friendship blessed by the Mantas
Snorkeling with Mantas Azores
Snorkeling with Mantas Azores

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

Adventure ~Tiff

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As The Wind Began to Howl-A Photo Journal of My Yesterday

Yesterday was “Friends Day” (Dia das Amigas) here in the Azores.. and while everyone was celebrating friendships, with cooking and dressing in costumes, a storm was moving in..

Celebrating Portuguese style, making  (at my mother in laws). Laughter and sweets
Celebrating Portuguese style, making ‘Buzios’ (at my mother in-laws). Laughter and sweets
Often Portuguese Boys Dress in Drag for Friends Day.. My son and my nephew.. (or my daughter and my niece) HA!
Often Portuguese Boys Dress in Drag for Friends Day.. My son and my nephew.. (or my daughter and my niece) HA!

The morning was sunny and warm, but as afternoon arrived, we began to feel the wind from the oncoming storm. The other islands were hit by the storm much harder and earlier than Santa Maria, one of the islands had wind gusts of 231 km, but we had strong winds here, gigantic waves, and the craziest hail storm I have ever seen.

As the Winds Begin, View from Fort Sao Bras
As the Winds Begin, View from Fort Sao Bras
Closing off access to the Port because of the Huge waves
Closing off access to the Port because of the Huge waves

I picked my sweetheart up from work, and we drove to the Port (the Cais) took some photos,  and then drove to the tiny village of Anjos. We sat and watched the  growing waves as darkness began to set in….

Another Photo from Fort Sao Bras

When the last speck of day was replaced by night, we went home, ate Buzios, drank chamomile tea, listened to the howling wind, and hoped our house wouldn’t blow away.  😉

Buzios, Santa Maria
Buzios, Santa Maria

Everyday is an adventure, but yesterday had a little more sugar, and much more wind. 

Lots of LOVE to you today. Happy Valentines~Yogini Tiff