Hanifaru Bay - Maldives Manta Madness

Thursday, 12 November 2009 21:08

Hanifaru Bay in the Baa Atoll of the Maldives has been quietly becoming a hot spot for underwater photographers over the last year or so. This small bay of the uninhabited island of Hanifaru, about the size of a football field, is home to a very unique seasonal phenomenon. Plankton blooms during the months of May - November can attract feeding mantas by the hundreds. Yes you read correctly, there can be at times up to 200 mantas feeding in this small bay! As if that were not enough, there are often large handfuls of whale sharks feeding along side of the mantas.

Sounds hard to believe? Check out this video to see for yourself (Courtesy of Aqua Dreams Imaging).

Chief photographer of the Save our Seas Foundation, Thomas Peschak shot an assignment for National Geographic about Hanifaru. The images are fantastic and really tell the story of this unique aggregation of feeding mantas. Watch the behind the scenes video (below), narrated by Thomas himself.

The Save Our Seas Foundation is responsible for funding the research that the National Geographic article is based upon.

The Maldives consists of over a thousand islands dispersed throughout 26 atolls in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Hanifaru is located in the Baa Atoll.

Apparently Hanifaru Bay has also become a tourism attraction for snorkelers. With large numbers of people entering the water, it is feared that the human impact may potentially alter the feeding behavior. The Maldivian government has recently pledged to protect the mantas by enforcing guidelines for divers and snorkelers. It is nice to see a government ccommited to preserving the natural behaviors and environments for their inhabitants. To us it may be "manta madness", but to the mantas it's simply lunch.



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