MANTA SEASON IS UNDERWAY
Manta Season is in full swing in Baa Atoll – just in time for guests returning to Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences.
Baa Atoll is one of the best places in the entire Maldives for spotting manta rays‚ with regular sightings and underwater visibility of up to 40 metres. In fact, our atoll was named a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in recognition of its incredible marine biodiversity. It includes a major site for spotting mantas and whale sharks named Hanifaru Bay.
With the resumption of scheduled flights from around the world‚ guests couldn’t wait to come to Amilla Maldives. Our vast areas of untamed wilderness‚ spacious self-contained villa amenities (like private pools and terraces) and comprehensive COVID-19 prevention protocols make it the perfect respite. Taking advantage of our flexible cancellation policy‚ guests have returned to find themselves in the middle of Baa Atoll’s Manta Season.
Baa Atoll Manta Season, May-November
The very best time to spot manta rays is during the full moon and the new moon. However, our in-house H.U.B. water-sports team are pros at tracking them and know their favourite haunts. They include cleaning stations and our atoll’s world-famous Hanifaru Bay.
While they’re wild creatures (so nobody can always guarantee a manta encounter), we have some of the most skilful people at locating them on our team.
Hanifaru Bay is renowned for attracting exceptionally large aggregations of magnificent manta rays and gentle whale sharks‚ which feed on the zooplankton trapped inside the bay. At its peak‚ there could be as many as 100 mantas plus several whale sharks feeding in Hanifaru at the same time. The site is only a short 4.8-mile speedboat ride from Amilla.
As a site of special scientific interest, Hanifaru Bay has been a Marine Protected Area since 2009. This means there are rules in place that protect the environment and limit the number of visitors allowed in the area at the same time. The Amilla water-sports team takes guests on a guided snorkel so they can view these amazing creatures in their natural environment.
Manta and Whale Shark Facts
Reef mantas – the species we commonly find in our atoll - can have a wingspan of up to 3.3m. Whale sharks are technically-speaking not sharks. They’re actually the largest type of fish species in the ocean. Rather like mantas, these gentle giants are filter feeders. They can grow up to 12m long.
Both mantas and whale sharks are generally elusive creatures and are vulnerable to extinction, which makes Baa Atoll – and Hanifaru Bay - even more exceptional.
What Attracts Mantas to Hanifaru Bay?
Hanifaru Bay has a unique dynamic water circulation system, due to the funnel-like reef shape. It’s about 1,300m long and 600m wide at the narrowest point. From May to November huge quantities of zooplankton become trapped in the bay, creating a kind of zooplankton ‘soup’. This attracts large numbers of filter-feeding ‘megafauna’ like whale sharks and manta rays, which hoover up the zooplankton. Hanifaru is also a nesting site for green turtles and hawksbill turtles.