Snorkeling with Manta Rays
Manta Rays are one of the ocean’s most iconic creatures. An encounter with these beautiful animals inspires ocean dreams and can even be the number one reason people start planning a tropical getaway. But sometimes the real experience is far from the Instagram reality, and instead, you can find yourself packed on a boat with dozens of other tourists. Snorkeling with manta rays in Uepi Islands, however, is as close to the dream reality as they come.
Mantas at Uepi Islands
Uepi Island is a small boutique resort and the only resort in the neighborhood, so whoever you go out with will be the only other snorkelers around. No scuba diving is allowed with the rays, only snorkeling.
Snorkeling with mantas is a daily activity that only happens for a small window of time just after sunrise. You will get a boat ride with an experienced captain who brings you to an underwater cleaning station where to snorkel with the rays around 5m in depth.
Within minutes of arriving on-site, the captains spot the dark shadows swimming below. Enter the water calmly and wait for the animals to pause below. The rays visit these coral bommies in the morning to find hungry fish waiting to pick the rays clean.
On our trip to the cleaning station, we found a massive momma ray who was showing off circling the rocks and somersaulting her way to the surface. A smaller reef manta swam by curious of these strange critters ‘us’ hovering at the surface of the water before swimming off down the reef.
While it is never guaranteed to see the Mantas, guests who stay at Uepi for two days or more are almost certain to have an encounter. Some days there are more than five rays, while other days just a single one.
What we love about this experience is Uepi’s decision to encourage minimal disturbance to the rays sunrise behavior. By limiting the number of guests and not allowing scuba divers, guests at Uepi can enjoy this magnificent creature day after day without stressing or chasing the rays.
All too often with manta ray experiences, you have a handful or more boats pursuing a single animal, or hoards of divers swimming tirelessly to keep up to a group of rays.
At Uepi you can respectfully observe manta rays in a paradise setting, and feel comfortable about your interaction with a small group of snorkelers. If snorkeling with Manta rays is on your bucket lists, Uepi Island may be just the place you’re looking for.
Getting to Uepi
Fly into Segeh from Honiara Solomon Island. Regular flights with Solomon Airlines or private charters with Air Taxi. Stay at the Uepi Island Resort. More info Visit Solomon Islands