A Manta Farewell

Sunset on Dhigga Island

Our morning call times were getting later and later the latest being 7:30 a.m., it was our last full day of diving and the day of our night dive.  Our first dive was Dega Thila.  I was still having problems clearning my ears and it was taking me a long time to get down, but I was doing o.k.  Dega Thila was another narrow canyon, cave reef.  For t he first time I saw baby Giant Clams I didn’t see any full grown ones, but the baby ones had brilliant purple mouths, there was a Reef Octopus, he was brown and his tentacles weren’t well formed, his bottom half looked like a cauliflower.  I also saw Banded Boxer Shrimp and a Giant Honeycomb Moray out of his hole and booking to get back into it, I saw another Lionfish, I also saw Batfish and a Big Unicorn Fish chaing a little one.  I was also fortunate to see a Scopion Paper Leafish, one of those fish that is very well camoflauged, and looks just like a medium Green Leaf and very hard to see. 

The second dive was aptly named Fish Head and it was hard to see the ocean through the fish.  I was still having a difficult time getting down and had to go slow, but I saw different things.  As I was hovering above the main group, I got caught in a stampede of Yellow Fusilier, a herd of them zoomed by me one way and then turned around and zoomed by me the other way.  There was a turtle feeding and huge, huge fish all over the place.  There were White Tip Reef sharks, Ember Parrotfish,  Batfish, Surgeon Fish, a Giant Moray, a Pale Blue Damsel and a sea slug called a Varicose Phyllidia.  On my way back up to the surface I was caught in another stampede, but this time it was Neon Fusilier, that were blue and silver.  There was a Scribbled Leather Jacket and I got mooned by Turtle who was so busy eating he couldn’t be bothered to pull his head out fo the rocks. 

Incoming

We spent the afternoon hanging out, I was super tired and was thinking about not going on the night dive, but Jen talked me into it.  She said, “What’s the worst thing, you just have to abort.”  She was right, but I was surprised to find out that the Austrians were not going on the night dive.  They explained that they had never really had a good night dive. 

I made it down and it was awesome it was a White Tip Reef Shark gathering and then we were followed by a Black Blotched Sting Ray, he followed us everywhere.  At first I wondered if I had a nose bleed and he was following me, but after the dive Esay explained he liked the light.  Everytime I turned around he was there and when we shined our lights on him, he would stir up sand by hovering over it.  He was a drama queen.  There were two Lionfish, a spotfinned and Whitelined one and then a sleeping Hawksbill turtle that we work up.  There was also a Honeycomb Moray, a Giant Royal Sea Cucumber, Kuiter’s Box Shrimp, a Blocked Porupine Fish, a Cockscomb Osyter, two Giant Morays and two Guinea Fowl Pufferfish.  I finally had my breathing down and could reach an hour before I hit 50 bar.  There were also a lot of Surgeon Fish playing in the bubbles, but everytime I tried to catch them in the act, they pretended that they hadn’t been in the bubbles.  Little sneaks!

Manta

As we were headed back to the boat we noticed all the Austrians peering off the back, there were Mantas feeding off the back of our boat.  Three of them, that were adult and huge and one little baby one.  They were doing circles trying to catch krill and they were beautiful.  We watched them all through dinner and after dinner and long into the evening.  One of them had three hitchikers that looked like Ramoras on his tummy.  I felt really lucky that I had gotten to see so many Mantas. 

Scratch my belly?

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