By Neo Bye
A lucky snorkeller managed to swim up close to a pod of manta rays.
Hawaii-native Mersediez Szabo may have swum with a lot of different animals growing up in the Pacific Ocean, but she had never encountered rays before.
Jumping into Manta Point in Nusa Penida, Indonesia, on October 9, she quickly encountered the giant sea animals.
Diving deep into the sapphire blue waters, the 22-year-old was able to swim as close as comfortable to the rays as they were waiting to be cleaned by smaller fish.
She said: “I love sea creatures and manta rays look so majestic and would be such a unique experience I couldn’t miss out on it.
“I knew to keep a bit of distance between me and the manta, so as not to spook or disturb them.
“The reason so many gather in this one area is it’s actually a cleaning station, so they all go there because it’s where all the little fish that’ll eat anything bad off them live.
“You don’t want to bug them too much.”