Some divers were deep into the blue sea of Costa Rica when something amazing happened. They dived to see the wildlife and film some of the awesome ecosystem when a manta ray approached one of the divers. Thankfully, everything was caught on camera and shared to the world. Little did the divers know that their first dive would turn into a rescue mission!
Here’s how the story of a friendly giant manta ray began…
20. A Beautiful Encounter
In one of his dives, Dr. Brian Thompson encountered a female manta ray which was tangled in fishing line. She approached him and he cut the line off. But this wasn’t the first time he helped them, said Thompson.
19. It Was Unforgettable
The first time when Thompson helped a manta ray was a few months before saving this female manta ray. His first experience was quite unique, as he dived and encountered a manta ray swarm near him… It was amazing!
18. Beckoning Him to Follow
Thompson related his experience: ‘He was a fairly large male swimming along with us. But then he suddenly stopped in front of me, which was kind of odd.’ What was the manta ray trying to ‘say’?
17. Then, He Followed
‘When he did that, I stopped too, and he sort of looked at me. I got the impression that I was supposed to come behind him’. So, Thompson started swimming fast behind the manta ray. And then he did this amazing thing…
16. Asking for Help
‘After a while, he stopped, then turned and swam quickly out to sea. But as soon as that happened, another ray came toward me from the direction he was going’. You won’t believe what happens next!
15. A Female Manta Ray Came Close
The poor creature was wrapped in fishing line. ‘She sort of presented the line to me, so I cut it off her’, said Thompson. And then a few moments later, another manta ray came to get some help…
14. Another Manta Ray Needed Help
The second manta ray came, all tangled in fishing line and waiting for her turn to get help. Thompson cut her free too and then returned to the boat. When asked about his experience, he said: ‘When I got back on the boat, I was ecstatic.’ And that’s not all!
13. Ten Year of Diving
‘I’ve been diving for ten years, so to have an experience like that was a moment of a lifetime. I was so excited. But that time, nobody saw me.’ Two days later, he returned with a camera and dived again. You won’t believe what happened…
12. Another Manta Ray Entangled in Fishing Line
Thompson dived again and took a cameraman with him. He was immediately surrounded by another giant manta ray: ‘It felt like he recognized me. When he saw me, he relaxed.’ Then, he got closer…
11. Coming to Get Help
The manta ray ‘came and swam directly at me, giving me access to the strings wrapped around her.’ He cut the lines and then the manta ray kept swimming with her rescuers for almost half an hour. But that’s not all!
10. Five Days Later
Five days after meeting that manta ray, Thompson ‘went to the Bat Islands again, and I saw the female manta from the video.’ They were stunned to see a remora swimming alongside her, on her back…
9. Helping Around
‘A remora on her back [was] cleaning [the wound] which would help protect it while it healed. The manta was very happy and was swimming around, full of energy’, said Thomson. Then another manta ray appeared!
8. Someone Else Needed Help
A manta ray appeared a few minutes later with wraps around him. After heling it a little, the creature swam away. But then, Thompson started getting curious. Was he meeting these animals by chance? He thought it was something else.
7. They Spread the Word
‘It felt like the manta in the video may have called over this one to have him get rid of the netting that was there,’ said Thompson. He believed that divers might have helped manta rays in the past and they remembered…
6. It Was Too Much of a Coincidence!
It happened too many times to be a coincidence, felt Thompson. And he also said that the manta rays came specifically to him and not the other divers that were underwater with him. So, he got some answers from science.
5. Finding an Expert’s Opinion
Dr. Csilla Ari, director of the Manta Pacific Research Foundation is also a zoologist and a neuroscientist. Hearing the events, he said that manta rays could have communicated with each other to save themselves…
4. Getting ‘Cleaned’
Dr. Ari said that manta rays are very curious and interested in divers and that they have a ‘complex social behavior’. He also said that manta rays learned ‘from each other where to get `cleaned` from the fishing nets’.
3. Understanding Manta Rays
Scientists haven’t yet understood all there is to know about manta ray behavior, but the research gathered enough data to show manta rays are extremely intelligent, says Dr. Ari…
2. Large Brains
Manta rays, says Dr. Ari, ‘have the largest brain of all fish, and the brain anatomy and behavioral observations of manta rays indicate that they are more social than solitary.’ They also do this cool thing…
1. Changing Colors
‘I have discovered that they are able to rapidly change the coloration of certain body markings, which is very likely a form of communication,’ said Dr. Ari. He also admits that they know very little of ‘their basic biology, physiology, and behavioral repertoire.’
However, Thompson’s video and photos showed us manta rays are awesome, friendly and very intelligent!