An experience not to be missed for those who visit the Yasawa islands is certainly the snorkelling with manta rays. Some of these islands are known worldwide for the possibility of snorkeling with mantas. Mind you: manta rays and not stingrays. Manta rays are spectacular animals that when adults measure between 5 and 7 meters wide depending on the species. There are two species of manta rays: the largest species is Manta birostris which reaches 7 meters in width while the smallest, Manta alfredi, reaches 5.5 meters in width.
SWIM WITH MANTA RAY IN THE FIJI ISLANDS
Every year between May and October, mantas frequent the canals between the islands of Nanuya Balavu, Drawaqa and Naviti. The best time to see them are the months between June and August. Manta rays frequent these waters because here they are cleaned of their parasites by small fish. It is practically a cleaning station that manta rays attend to receive benefits from these small fish. While swimming at some point we felt nibbled on all sides: it was the little fish that had started to do the same treatment for us as they did for mantas!
In the canals between the islands, mantas also find their food: due to the strong nutrient currents that are channeled through the narrow canals around the islands, manta rays are able to access their main food source, plankton, with ease and in great abundance. The manta has no teeth and does not have a sting on the tail, they are completely harmless to humans, they do not even eat other fish and feed on plankton.
The spectacle that these majestic animals offer that gracefully swim beneath you is something you will remember for a lifetime. We saw them on the second attempt in the channel between the islands of Drawaqa and Naviti. In Fiji it is also possible to snorkel with sharks.