September 27, 2004

The best for the end


Only Mike and I decided to go for this dive, we left at 7:30AM to try to get the mantas. We got our best dive ever with the mantas. We slowly drifted from the boat to dive within a group and follow slowly the sandy 'avenue' by sticking to the bottom. We separated quickly and amazingly met at the same location: a coral head to be used as a shelter to protect us from the current. It was located at where the big sandy 'avenue' was splitting in 2 smaller one. The mantas were flying on each avenue and passing over us during more than 30 minutes.

While hiding behind some coral head to protect me from the current, I had a big black manta that came right to my face, probably intriguded by this big black shape that was moving at the bottom. I was not breathing for more than 30 seconds, she literally came to examine me and when I finally had to exhale some bubbles, she slowly passed on my side.

We left in the afternoon to spend the night in Berau (2h via speed boat) as we had a flight early morning the next day to Balikpapan.

#32: Location: Manta Avenue, SI: 13h59min, Max. Depth: 13.3m, Time: 63min

So.. what can be said about this experience from my point of view ?

- I spent a more than a dozen dives getting used to the dual strobe positioning strategy (Bob was very helpful here). I made many mistakes during the action, including too much angle (reflection on the WA), invalid settings (I didn't have a master/slave configuration so it happened a couple of times that I had an asymetric lighting)

- WA of 100 degrees is not wide enough for mantas. Even though the mantas had an estimated wingspan varying between 1m50 to 3m, I would have appreciated a dome. Heather had a bayonet mounting which is incompatible with my M67 mounting, that's too bad, otherwise I would have been interested to test this 165-degree fisheye.

- Sangalaki is probably the best place for mantas. All year round, accessible within 5 minutes from the dive resort...it's hard to beat this if you want to shoot mantas.

- You may want to bring some fancy freediving fins if you intend to have fun. There is a slight current which is no big deal but enough to make you suck your tank in 45min if you spend the whole dive swimming around.


Another expedition will more than certainly happen last year at the same period in conjunction with other location (Mabul ? Sipadan ? Lembeh ? Bunaken ?) and it is planned to book the whole resort to get more interesting prices. I'm sure you are interested, so don't forget to contact me and I will send your name and address to the 'chief organizer'

Sunrise at Sangalaki Manta ray - Manta birostris - Manta ray - Manta birostris - Manta ray - Manta birostris - A very inquisitive one that examined me very closely until I expired some bubbles. Manta ray - Manta birostris - Manta ray - Manta birostris - Manta ray - Manta birostris - I'm slowly (head current) approaching her from behind Manta ray - Manta birostris - I'm slowly (head current) approaching her from behind Manta ray - Manta birostris - Manta ray - Manta birostris - Manta ray - Manta birostris - Some current maybe ? Manta ray - Manta birostris - Sangalaki Dive Lodge: Bob, Mike, Ian and Ron Sangalaki island Fishing platforms on the way to Berau

 
Posted by stephane at September 27, 2004 11:16 PM
Comments

That was a Manta dive of a lifetime!!!

Posted by: Mike Stallings on October 14, 2004 07:56 PM

Hi,

I stumbled across your blog and saw that you possibly would be organizing a trip to Sangalaki around Sept. 2005. Any luck? We'd like to go, but it's very expensive. Perhaps with a group it's more cost-effective....we're based in Singapore.

Thanks,

Annette

Posted by: annette on July 17, 2005 10:52 AM