The Mighty Manta!
Three generations (6-66), nine of us this time, back to Lady Elliot for our third visit in three years. We'd had incredible wildlife experiences before - snorkelling the Lagoon, Coral gardens & Lighthouse, watching turtles come in to lay & tiny hatchlings hurtle towards the water but still we dreamed of those elusive Mantas. We were on a mission! Hopes lifted as we spotted our first Manta in the channel as we dropped on to the runway. Hurrying to gather snorkels,goggles & fins at the Dive Shop we asked, "Any Mantas about?" "Twenty, this morning!" The kids were so excited.
Remembering that Mantas had a habit of by-passing us, we hurried across the island to the Lighthouse to try our luck. Straight out to the channel, past the triggerfish who usually entertain us, over the spectacular drop off, through the chromis shimmering in the sunlight, no detours to the anemone wall of clownfish and out into the blue we powered. The water was cloudy from last night's coral spawning, so it took a moment to identify our surrounds, the bigger fish feeding on the bottom & schools of surface feeders sweeping by.
Some exploratory dives and smiles all round, there we waited, eyes on alert. A shout of 'Manta' grabbed everyone's attentionas out of the murky depths slid a majestic Manta. Velvet black wings gliding through the water like an eagle soaring towards us, it swept up and around us, looking each one in the eye as it cruised past. Some dived down to follow along behind, some just watched in awe. Mission already accomplished!!! We'd been in the water for ten minutes, dreams realized & our Lady Elliot holiday had only just begun. Waiting for us still more delights on this jewel of the Great Barrier Reef and three more days of discovery ahead!