Swim with Manta Rays! Snorkel or swim with one of the largest creatures in the ocean! Is it a ‘must do’, ‘bucket list’ kind of thing to do?
Best Place to Snorkel with Manta Rays
- Bills Bay, Coral Bay
- Sandy Bay, Ningaloo Marine Park
- Bundegi Beach, Exmouth
- Mauritius Beach, Exmouth
- Town Beach, Exmouth
Some of the best spots to snorkel with Manta Rays are around the Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia where Manta Rays come close to the shore in search for food. Unlike East Coast Manta Rays where they spend most of their time in more than 10 metres of water. Along the West Australian Coastline Manta Rays can be seen close to shore allowing people to easily snorkel with this huge animal!
We have a few tips and some useful information to help you plan a trip to swim with Manta Rays … We even have some information on how to become a volunteer and help research the patterns and behaviour of these fish … Yep! A Manta is a fish!
Manta … a Fish?
A Manta Ray is a close relative of all sharks and rays, cartilaginous (meaning a skeleton made of cartilage) elasmobranch fish (sharks, rays, and skates … sub category of Chondrichthyes). Manta rays belong to the taxonomic family Mobulidae and research suggests they can live up to 100 years old! A manta (scientific name) can’t breathe air, instead their gills respire underwater, just like any other fish.
In conjunction with ‘Project Ningaloo Reef’ and ‘The University of Queensland’ about 800 Mantra Rays have been identified by their individual dots on their bellies. Coral Bay and the Ningaloo Reef has a resident population of Mantra Rays.
Some of these playful animals have even been given names by the Coral Bay locals… Swim with Isobel, Grace, Ouch and Whoopi just to name a couple of friendly favourite locals.
The Manta Ray identification program has now been expanded to include the northern part of the Ningaloo Reef, around Exmouth in Western Australia. Focusing their research in 2018 on how some environmental factors are affecting the movement of these large creatures in the ocean.
Best Time to Book a Holiday to Swim with the Manta Ray in Exmouth
Swimming with Manta Rays is safe, unlike a sting ray Manta Rays are completely harmless and can grow up to a huge 5.5 metres in length! Manta Rays are filter feeders, they eat zooplankton and coral spawn, just like a Whale Shark.
During the middle of May to around the middle of September Mantra Ray numbers increase in the waters around Exmouth and they become playful and curious towards divers and snorkellers.
When in the mood the Manta will often put on a show for a willing audience, swimming close by, breaching and sometimes these huge 5 meter animals will launch themselves flying out of the water and through the air … a David Attenborough wildlife moment!
Often the Whale Shark tours will locate Mantra Rays to swim with while on the Whale Shark tours. Ask when you book!
Volunteer for Project Ningaloo in 2018
The locals who live in Exmouth all year round cherish the delicate marine ecosystem that surrounds the beautiful Cape Range National Park. Scientific research leads to education and a better understand of the majestic Manta Rays that grace the waters.
Project Ningaloo Reef is asking for volunteers to help identify environmental risks these majestic creatures face. Snorkel as a volunteer and help protect the Manta Ray. Help gather information to build on an existing database of knowledge to support informed decisions on management. Signing up means you can help to protect the overall marine ecosystem and life that depends on the Ningaloo waters and reefs.
Calling all Ocean Photographers!
The Project Ningaloo expedition is perfect for volunteers who are interested in underwater ocean photography of marine life. As part of the 7 days expect to be …
- Snorkelling with Manta Rays … Make sure you’re familiar and comfortable with ocean snorkelling.
- Have the opportunity to capture many photos of Manta Rays
- Help with the Manta identification database by identifying and processing images
- Record usage and identify locations of manta cleaning stations
- Conduct biodiversity surveys on the cleaning stations
- Conduct shark counts
- Observe the health of the overall marine ecosystem
When: Mar 25 – Mar 31, 2018 OR Oct 21 – Oct 27, 2018
Where: Coral Bay Ningaloo Reef
Duration: 7 Days
Includes: Accommodation, food, and all related research costs.
On all expeditions Manta rays will be seen. Volunteer tasks will vary, depending on the abundance of each species.
If you decide to join the research team and would like to extend your stay in Exmouth to spend time exploring the area we offer a range of accommodation options.
For more information on Project Ningaloo Reef visit the Earthwatch Group and sign up to become a volunteer during March and October.
Plan a trip to Swim with Manta Rays
Book ahead! Each year we see an increase in tourists and visitors from all over the world planning to swim with a Manta Ray. Tours and accommodation are booked out in advance. To ensure your spot, plan and book ahead of your stay. We offer self contained accommodation to suit all budgets. We live in Exmouth and can help you plan a snorkel with the Manta. Check out our list of tours available or contact us directly for more information.