Saturday, May 2, 2009

Koie Fly-by

I've mentioned in many recent posts that the large creatures of the deep don't often explore the reefs. At a depth of about sixty to seventy feet the coral stops and the drop off begins. Once in a while we will dive to these areas just to see if anything happens by. During this dive, the last of our three tank long range dive, we saw Koie. She is a female manta ray with a wingspan when last measured of  about 9 feet. She spotted Dennis settled in the sandy bottom and his jacuzzi bubbles rising just over his head and she cruised just over him. I was above slightly and snapped these fantastic photos of the greeting.
I zoomed in just slightly and as you can see she takes up the entire frame.
As I zoomed out, and with no reference it is hard to imagine the size of her.
That is, of course, until she flies directly over Dennis' head! He is six feet tall and she is so much larger in comparison!
Dennis was able to film her on our tiny, and I mean TINY underwater video camera but it was just enough to see her markings underneath to confirm that indeed it was Koie that was visiting with us that dive.
Vinny, our dive master, from Big Island Divers was so excited to see her you can see him in the left hand corner with his slate out where he wrote "KOIE!!!" She was injured a few years ago when one of her wings was tangled in fishing line and he was able to take his dive knife and cut it loose during one of the night dives that occur on a regular basis. It is so great to have dive masters who are so passionate about what they do!
There she goes...
What an amazing experience. We thought we had it good with a 21 night manta dive, but to see her during the day was even more amazing!

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