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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Top 20 places to go snorkeling with rays

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The world’s oceans are home to over 500 different ray species of all shapes and sizes. These close cousins to sharks are mesmerizing to swim with and leave a lasting impression upon anyone who swims with them. Whether you want to snorkel with huge mantas, spotted eagle rays, friendly stingrays or thousands of mobulas, you can. Read on to find out more.

Reef manta rays  

  1. Hanifaru Bay, Maldives

One of the most famous manta ray destinations of all, Hanifaru Bay is simply incredible. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve hosts hundreds of feeding mantas from May to November each year and you can go snorkeling with them.

  1. Kona, Hawaii

Kona in Hawaii is one of the only places in the world where you go can night snorkeling (or night diving) with reef mantas. Lit up by the beam of you torch, you can watch the mantas feeding right in front of you. It is one of the best-loved highlights of any Kona scuba diving trip.

  1. Lady Elliot Island, Australia

Lady Elliot Island, known as the ‘home of the manta ray’, is a gorgeous island in the southernmost reaches of the Great Barrier Reef. It hosts manta rays year-round and offers snorkeling safaris to swim with mantas and explore the island’s coral reefs.

  1. Barefoot Manta Island, Fiji

Sitting just south of the Yasawa Islands, Barefoot Manta Island is renowned for its manta ray encounters and has some of Fiji’s best coral gardens. You can swim with mantas there for May to October each year.

Oceanic manta rays

  1. Komodo, Indonesia – manta point (both reef and giant) 

The Komodo National Park in Indonesia hosts both reef and giant mantas, which you can snorkel with at Manta Point. As well as mantas, Komodo has some of the world’s most diverse coral reefs and an endless list of incredible marine life to swim with.

  1. Mozambique (both reef and giant) – Tofo

Like Komodo, Mozambique’s waters are frequented by reef and giant mantas. These graceful rays visit Mozambique’s cleaning stations in numbers, where you can dive or snorkel with them. Tofo Beach in Mozambique is a great place to go snorkeling with both manta rays and whale sharks.  

Stingrays

  1. New Zealand

If you want to combine topside adventure activities with world-class subtropical snorkeling, visit New Zealand. The famous Poor Knights Islands are rated as one of the top 10 dive experiences in the world and offer snorkeling with huge stingrays and countless schooling fish.

  1. Stingray City, Cayman Islands

Stingray City is one of the world’s top places for snorkeling with stingrays. The calm clear waters of this lagoon host dozens of stingrays, which cruise along the white sand landscapes and are tolerant of people in the water.

  1. Moorea, French Polynesia

Moorea Lagoon in French Polynesia is known for its friendly stingrays. This idyllic lagoon also hosts reef sharks, and you can go swimming with humpback whales further offshore.

  1. Shark Ray Alley, Belize

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve has some of the best Belize diving and snorkeling opportunities. At Shark Ray Alley, you will find beautiful coral formations, plus numerous stingrays, nurse sharks and sea turtles.

  1. Egypt’s Red Sea

Egypt is a classic and affordable destination for snorkelers and divers alike, offering vibrant coral reefs busy with gorgeous blue spotted stingrays.

Spotted eagle rays

  1. French Polynesia

Bora Bora Lagoon and Moorea Lagoon in French Polynesia host plenty of spotted eagle rays, as does Fakarava Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This is one of the most romantic and beautiful destinations you will likely ever find.

  1. Egypt’s Red Sea

As well as hosting blue spotted stingrays in abundance, Egypt’s many house and offshore reefs also host spotted eagle rays. Simply grab your snorkel, walk off the beaches and start exploring.

  1. Félicité Island, Seychelles

The channel at Félicité Island hosts eagle rays year-round and is a gorgeous place to go snorkeling. If you don’t have any luck finding eagle rays there, the surround islands are some of the best places for spotting eagle rays in the Indian Ocean.

Guitarfish

  1. La Jolla Cove, USA

Shovelnose guitarfish are strange-looking rays that also look a bit like sharks. These curious creatures can be found among the rich kelp forests of La Jolla Cove in California, where you can also spot leopard sharks and sea lions.

  1. The Maldives

Bowmouth guitarfish are a type of ray found at the Maldives. Although they are not commonly seen, keep your eyes out for them whilst snorkeling there. Even if you don’t see a guitarfish, you’ll be exploring one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world.

  1. Ningaloo Reef, Australia

Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is visited by an array of ocean giants, including whale sharks, humpback whales, mantas, dugong and more. There, you can also find Guitara the giant guitarfish. Much loved by locals, Guitara is comfortable with people in the water and comes over to check divers out.

Electric rays

  1. Egypt’s Red Sea

In case you need another reason to go snorkeling in Egypt, the rich waters there host adorable-looking leopard torpedo rays. These small and round electric rays are often spotted wriggling across the reefs as they go about their business.

  1. Channel Islands, USA

Pacific electric rays are only found in the coastal waters of the northeastern Pacific Ocean. You can find them at rocky reefs and kelp forests from Baja California up to British Columbia, though the Channel Islands are one of the best places to encounter them.

Mobula rays

  1. Baja California, Mexico

Last but by no means least, the Sea of Cortez is one of the best places to go Mexico diving and is renowned for its snorkeling with rays. This incredible destination hosts tens of thousands of mobula rays each year, which gather in huge groups to feed. Go snorkeling at Baja California to witness this true spectacle of nature.


Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for Scuba Schools International (SSI), wrote this article.

Scuba Schools International (SSI) is the largest professional business-based training agency in the world. For over 50 years now, SSI has provided the ultimate training experience for millions of certified divers, not only in Recreational Scuba, but in every training category: Freediving, Extended Range, Rebreather Diving, Mermaid, Swim and Lifeguard.

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Divers, Protect our Seas.

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As divers and lovers of the ocean, we need to understand and protect this now fragile environment. We are the few who actually visit and see what is going on below the water. For those of you who have been diving many years, you will have seen the degradation of marine life and habitat first hand. For those newer to diving take stock of what we have and help to protect it.

There are many factors contributing to the demise of the world’s oceans. Pollution, climate change and over-fishing are the three most obvious. Globally, these issues are slowly being addressed but over-fishing is still knocking on the back door of reason. We still continue to support factory industrial fishing by buying their products. As I see fish stocks diminishing every year I know we have passed the point where sustainable commercial fishing is a viable option. We keep species on the brink of commercial extinction and are then alarmed when they crash. We are changing the very nature of our oceans, and not for the better.

I was recently on a UK off-island enjoying the peace and relative isolation from modern day trappings. As I sat on a quiet beach, I saw a seal rise out of the water just a few hundred meters from the shore. It stayed on the surface for about thirty seconds and then sank out of site. Lovely. Then to my surprise it surfaced after a few minutes in exactly the same spot. This happened a few more times before I realised with absolute sadness that the seal was trapped by something and was fighting to the surface for air before being dragged back down.  What could I do…….Nothing…. It was very cold and I had no wet suit to swim out and try to help. But even if I did the danger and risk of being caught myself was high as well as the possibility of being bitten by the panicking seal. I tried to phone a few local people to ask if anyone with a boat could help. But there was no signal and I knew in my heart that there were no boats anywhere near. I ran to the top of the hill and tried to call again. My fears were confirmed. There was no one who could help.

I went back down to the water and could only watch as the seal continued to fight for its life, surfacing every few minutes and taking deep breaths before being pulled under by what ever it was. On the beach next to me was part of a washed up fishing net. This was more than likely the kind of thing trapping the seal. I watched for half an hour. Caught up in my emotions and helplessness. I desperately wanted the seal to break free but I knew that was not going to happen. After another hour I wished the seal not to come up again so that its suffering was at an end.  But it kept fighting. I stayed there until it started getting dark. In some stupid way I felt I should keep it company. To say you are not alone and will be remembered.

The tide was rising, making the seal’s struggle to the surface harder with every passing minute. I had to leave. I didn’t go back to see if it fought throughout the night, although I have know seals and other marine mammals have done that. In the end the seal would have finally drowned and is now resting on the sea bed, bloated and entangled. If I had not seen this happening no one would have ever known. How much more is there happening out of sight that we just don’t witness.

As I was writing this I was introduced to Ocean Rebellion who have just produced a short film shot in Cornwall on netting and trawling. It is a stark film called ‘No More Fish In The Sea’ and can be seen on YouTube. It shows a Mermaid trapped and drowning in a net. You may think this over the top, but the horrors of drowning, in any circumstance, are the same for all air breathing animals, whales, dolphins, seals, sea birds, otters and many others and must not be ignored just because most victims are not human. If you can, watch the video and think hard about what it is saying.

‘No More Fish In The Sea’

The introduction to the video says:

Due to industrial fishing practices there is now no such thing as sustainable fishing. If we transform our fishing practices this could change. We need to end the wholesale destruction of the ocean through factory fishing on an industrial scale.

Ocean rebellion is calling for an end to industrial fishing practices and an end to bottom trawling now.

Bottom trawling is a devastating form of fishing that wreaks havoc on the sea bed, ripping up swathes of precious marine habitats and killing vast amounts of sea life. For every bottom trawled fish on your plate up to 16 other fish will have been caught and killed.

Living oceans mean a living planet and a living humankind. But humans are killing the oceans. When they die, we die. Their future hangs in the balance – and with them the future of humans and all life on Earth. Ocean Rebellion will help turn the tide.

Bottom trawling is killing us all.

Oceanic wildlife has a wonderful ability to recover if we leave it alone.

OCEAN REBELLION

Because the sea is rising we will rise

Because the coral is fading we will fight

As the seas are mined we will mobilise

While the oceans are plundered we will protest

Lifeguards wanted

Join us.

https://oceanrebellion.earth/

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Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Dr Katey Lesneski from Coral Vita, winners of the Earthshot Prize (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Dr. Katey Lesneski, Director of Restoration Science at Coral Vita, about the future of coral reefs.

Coral Vita are the winners of the £1million Revive Our Oceans Earthshot Prize. You can read our story on this HERE.

While often mistaken as being from lower latitudes, Katey is a true New England native at heart. Escaping the winter at opportune times, Katey has volunteered, studied, and worked in Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Belize, and the Florida Keys. Her time in these communities before college, studying abroad while at Brown, and during her PhD at Boston University led her to appreciate the importance of community involvement, which she gained a deeper understanding of as a 2018 Switzer Environmental Fellow. Katey has enjoyed weaving her knowledge of coral reef conservation and management into lesson plans for when she was a middle school science teacher, a graduate Teaching Fellow, and a divemaster and assistant scuba instructor.

Katey currently works as the Director of Restoration Science at Coral Vita, where she applies her background of marine ecology and genetics to reef restoration projects. Now that she is done with her PhD she is rediscovering “free” time, and enjoys freshwater fish husbandry, plant cultivation, reading sci-fi novels, and just about any watersport. She lives with her adopted potcake pup Dogtor Pepí in Freeport, Grand Bahama. 

Find out more about the work of Coral Vita at www.coralvita.co


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Egypt | Safaga, Brothers & Elphinstone | 27 January – 04 February 2022 | Emperor Elite

Jump on board this famous Red Sea liveaboard and enjoy diving the famous wrecks of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer.  Emperor Elite offers a contemporary living space combined with the best itineraries available in the Red Sea.

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  • Flights from London Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox

Booking deadline: Subject to availability.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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