Dive Jetty at Diving School, Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses Laamu and Ocean Dimensions welcomed Guy Stevens, chief executive and founder of the Manta Trust, for a week in late October to explore Manta Point and discuss future research and conservation opportunities.
The MMRP, founding project of the Manta Trust, goal is to collect data on the distribution, biology and ecology of manta rays throughout the Maldivian archipelago to aid in conservation.
Since 2012 Six Senses Laamu and Ocean Dimensions have been submitting photographs (taken by photographer Marteyne Van Well) of the undersides of manta rays to the MMRP. Twenty-two individual manta rays have been identified using the cleaning stations at Manta Point. At 20 m deep, off the end of the Ying Yang surf break, an extension of reef sticks out into the Hithadhoo Kandu channel. It is on this platform where multiple blocks of corals which host dozens of cleaner wrasse are found and attract manta rays for daily cleaning.
Manta ray at Six Senses Laamu
The continual year round sightings of manta rays at Hithadhoo Corner and the identification of manta rays, led to the invitation of Stevens to Six Senses Laamu. After just five days of diving at Hithadhoo Corner, 22 individual manta rays increased to 52. Twenty-eight of the newly sighted manta rays were identified as completely new to the Maldives database. The database now contains 50 manta rays.
Ocean Dimensions and marine biologist Rachel Lambert will be responsible for continuing to collect manta ray photo-identification images and promoting awareness about manta rays and the Manta Trust throughout the resort.
In addition to weekly discussions on Mantas hosted by Lambert, the team of dive professionals at Ocean Dimensions will also be sharing insights and facts on Mantas with regular dives to Hithadhoo Corner. The resort will also a new array of educational tools on the importance and vulnerability of the Laamu Atoll manta ray population