With my leg extended, hovering from the boat over the turquoise seas, one hand firmly placed on my mask and regulator, the other on my weight belt. I stepped out and dropped from the small bright red boat floating gracefully in the centre of the glistening waters of Komodo National Park.
In the brief moments, as I sank into the warm waters of the Flores Sea, I captured a glimpse of the island, Mawan, reflecting close to our boat. Its elegant pink and white sand covering its shoreline twinkled as the sunlight bounced its reflective tones. The island’s small, rugged hills echoed a faint greeny-yellow as if it hadn’t seen rain in months.
Excitement filled me in the brief moments as I shut my eyes and transported from earth to ocean. The once calm, crystal waters became rippled as I felt the warmth of the water enclosing around me. It felt as if I jumped into a hot tub, bubbles rushing up around my body as I plunged deeper into the ocean.
Thoughts immediately raced my mind, questions that needed answering. I knew Komodo National Park was home to countless stunning marine life as this had been my home for five months. But now I came to believe that you never know what to expect when entering into the vibrant world lying beneath Komodo.
My eyes bolted open as if a blindfold was removed from my face. I was eager to observe what rested at the garden-covered bottom of Mawan. Excitement flooded my body, my heart started racing as I discovered that we had landed in a pool of magnificent Manta Rays.
The majestic Mantas swooped around us, their wings extended over three metres long, mouths stretched exceptionally wide that it gave the impression they could consume us whole. Twenty gentle giants glided past, one came close, our eyes met and I felt a connection so intense, it was like no other. It’s said that Manta Rays have remarkable memories, so I understood that we must have met before.
The Manta closed in on me, its wing came so near that I felt the water’s power whip across my face. The Manta swirled above, the light shining from the surface became blocked with a distinct silhouette of the wings, devilish horns and its uniquely distinct belly markings. As we admired each other and shared our special moment, it was time to say goodbye as they gilded away into the current that overpowered itself around the island.
As I boarded the boat and the day set, we started travelling back to the small port of Labuan Bajo, it was the perfect time to reflect on the day I had encountered. The sky quickly transformed from bright blues to vivid oranges, pinks and lilacs. I lay back, sinking into the cushions that lead across the top deck of the elegant red boat that glided along the pinkening waters of Komodo. I thought to myself, what a perfect sunset to an extraordinary day.
Manta Rays are an extraordinary beauty that I highly recommend every scuba diver needs to experience. Komodo National Park is one of the top places in the world for diving with Manta Rays. The most well-known dive sites are Manta Point, The Cauldron and Mawan. I completed my Advanced Open Water to Divemaster with Flores Diving Centre and achieved well over 200 dives with them. They ensured I received an extraordinary adventure and I can safely say that I recommend this amazing company to anyone wishing to visit the magical waters of Komodo National Park.
This blog was written by Lauren Mogg, Marketing Expert and Founder of Mogfish Marketing, who dived with us for five months to complete her PADI Divemaster.