Diving with one ocean giant is an incredible experience, but throw an entire school into the mix and you're left with an acrobatic display of epic proportions. 

Underwater photographer Mike Veitch captured this beautiful footage of manta rays filling their bellies with plankton near the island of Arborek in the Raja Ampat region of Indonesia's West Papua province.  

“It was a rising tide in the morning, just before slack high tide, when the action was hottest and the mantas were congregating in a narrow channel between two shallow reefs where the current was quite strong,” says Veitch. 

According to Veitch, the circling mantas weren’t bothered by his presence, lifting their wings over their divers' heads and banking to turn away from them if they came too close. 

“We were able to see the mantas feeding from around 500 metres away as their wing tips were coming through the water's surface, and we went over to investigate with only our fins, mask, and snorkel,” he says. Manta rays don't just feed on tiny plankton, but also on small baitfish and crustaceans.

For Veitch, this is one encounter he and his crew will never forget. "Once the tide started to drop, the mantas disappeared, and we jumped out of the water with smiles on our faces!" 


Top header image: Steve, Flickr