click hereAfter traveling for +/- 2 weeks I just wanted some me-time and chose to stay at one of the many resorts at Nusa Dua: MELIA BALI. I have to admit that I didn’t really took the chance to explore the area as I arrived late in the afternoon and the next day I spent the morning at Yhi Spa and after relaxed in one of my own private cabanas on the beach.

Personally, I’m someone that can’t sit still, so when I arrived at MELIA BALI I already started exploring the options to go to Nusa Penida, which is an island close to Nusa Dua. There is one particular reason I wanted to go to Nusa Penida because you can actually snorkel with the amazing giant oceanic Manta Rays there. Close to the Gili islands you can also dive with them, but I don’t have any dive certificate. One tip for a snorkel-day trip: look for tours that pick you up from Bali, take care of the fastboat, and your return. Unless you want to stay at Nusa Lembongan or Penida for a few days, then you can arrange a snorkel trip at Manta Point on the island itself.

The first time I saw one by accident was at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Back then I was a bit bewildered about the fact that this big creature was swimming so close to me. My snorkel buddy just left to the boat, so I was snorkeling all by myself. While it was only a matters of seconds that I could see the beauty of this Manta and take a quick picture, I did not realize they are a rare find until I got back to the boat. This was also the point that I started wondering if I encountered a dangerous some-sort-of-fish that could attack me.

Manta Ray facts:
I’ve heard a lot of misunderstandings about Manta Rays ever since. Lots of friends asked me if they are dangerous, but I personally find them one of the most friendliest and magical creatures I’ve ever seen while snorkeling. They eat zooplankton and don’t attack divers or snorkelers. Don’t be confused: they are not the same as the dangerous sting rays, but are not as small as the friendlier reef rays.

I joined a dive boat and was the only snorkeler there, but while snorkeling and free diving by myself I never felt I was in danger. At some point I saw 7 manta rays swimming around me, which is more than the divers 10 meters below me saw. They only counted 4! I don’t recommend snorkeling by yourself if you’ve never done it before, so if it’s your first time snorkeling in open water make sure you have a guide.

The only moment I felt lonely and somewhat scared, was when a lost Titan Triggerfish swam towards me. They can bite, and especially during their reproduction season when the female guards the nest you don’t want to get close to them. Anyone swimming above the nest (even meters above!) they might attack, so if you find one just swim horizontally away. Preferaby backwards so you can see them.

It was difficult to take good pictures because the clean station at Manta Point is somewhat deep and dark and I would need a flash to take better pictures. I just had a small underwater camera with me which is great for the first 2 meters when you still have daylight, but in my humble opinion anything on a deeper level you’ll want to use a proper camera. Nevertheles it didn’t take away the best experience of my holiday! I could recommend swimming with Manta Rays to everyone!

Now you could argue if I should have called this blog post: Manta Rays :). There is a reason I’m fascinated about these magical sea creatures, so you should take the chance to see them yourself!

The last 2 days I spent celebrating Almi’s birthday in Canggu before heading home. Want to find out what else I did in Bali and Lombok? For the rest of my travel stories click here.


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