Manta Corner – A Playground for the Third Largest Fish in the World

Photo courtesy from www.randallbenton.com

Dive Profile

Type of Diving: Liveaboard, Drift and Deep Diving
Maximum Depth: 33 meters (110 feet)
Average Depth: 27 meters (90 feet)
Visibility: 10 – 20 meters (30 – 60 feet)
Water Temperature: 78 – 84 OF (26 – 29 OC)

The Usual Dive Plan

Photo courtesy from Youtube

Manta corner is one of the dive sites in Cocos Island that can only be accessible when weather conditions are on its calmest. Located at the southern coast of Cocos island just off the edge of Mount Dampier, you will plunge down following a reef slope which is considered the submerged portion of this mountain range. As you begin your dive, you will usually engage in a drift dive over mild to moderate current as the area is known to be a convergent zone for oceanic waters.

As you go deeper, you will notice that the turbulence of the water starts to subside where you can now focus on navigating your way down to 27 meters (90 feet) deep and arrive at this reef flat where manta rays welcomes your presence.

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Interact with 10 or more Giant Manta Rays in a Single Dive

Photo courtesy from www.luxuryyachtmaldives.com

If hammerhead shark is synonymous with Cocos Island as it has become its signature species, manta rays can be considered a co-attraction to this offshore Costa Rican Island where you can see a thriving and healthy population.

Given the right conditions, a diver will never surface up without interacting with this gentle giant. But if luck is in your side, then you may interact, not just one, but up to ten giant manta rays as some reports claim. But what is notable with Manta corner is that Manta rays found in this site tend to accompany you during the entire duration of your dive. During your interaction, a manta ray will usually perform their graceful dancing or may glide over you just a few feet above your head. Most divers said that they consume their air up to the 50 bar (500 psi) mark allowing them to maximize their time spent with manta rays underwater.

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Why Manta Corner has the Greatest Population of Manta Rays in Cocos Island?

Photo courtesy from Island Dreams Travel

As said earlier, the area is a convergent zone for oceanic waters. The arrival of these waters in Manta corner brings in huge amount of nutrients which in turn stimulates the rapid production of plankton which is the primary food of manta rays.

With this, you can often see a feeding manta ray in this area where they are capable of eating and dancing at the same time. The unfurling of their horns called cephalic lobes is an indicator that a manta ray is feeding where the purpose of this body protrusion is to funnel in water to the mouth that is enriched with microscopic plankton. On a lighter note: can we humans simultaneously eat and dance?

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Limited Information due to Limited Exploration

Same with nearby Shark Fin Rock, the explorations done in Manta corner is also limited to a few due to prevailing weather condition, where most of the times in this portion of Cocos Island, the seas are rough.

But for avid divers, the lack of information in Manta corner only adds to the mystery where the urge to explore this underwater wilderness is ever growing. So, if you are one of the few lucky persons to explore Manta Corner during a perfectly calm weather, do not forget to document it and share your experience to others.

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Reference

Fishbase: www.fishbase.org

Paylado, T.C. 2005. Biophysical Environment and Behavior of Giant Manta Rays (Manta birostris Bancroft 1829) in Bontod-Tacdogan Reef, Ticao Pass, Masbate, Philippines. Masteral Thesis – University of Nueva Caceres, Naga City, Camarines Sur.

PBS Nova Online Adventure: www.pbs.org

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