Nick and Isabelle, Kona Hawaii
Kona is well known for it's manta ray night dives, but there are also specific locations where the rays congregate during the day. If your diving skills are together, and you know where to go, if you're patient and relentless, you can simply swim out to them and have a little face time, one on one, for as long as your air lasts. Big, small, juveniles and adults, male and female, sometimes one or two, often more.
Being in the water alone with these beasts is addicting, and it's about all I do these days. Drive a couple miles down the road, reggae blasting. Suit up, jump in and swim out, and wait for the action to start. It's almost always different mantas. In a typical session I might shoot a couple hundred images, but only a few are keepers.
It's a struggle to capture the essence of what it feels like to have a long solo encounter with them; this pic is as close as I've come. Here Nick, a young male, and Isabelle share a moment together. March 1 2012.
Lively up yourself!