By Lucy Harvey
Incredible footage shows a diver surrounded by Manta Rays.
Grant Thomas, 28, from Glasgow, Scotland, took this footage whilst on a diving trip to Hanifaru Bay in the Maldives.
Hanifaru Bay is known to host hundreds of Manta Rays which all travel together to feed – leading Grant to refer to it as the Manta Ray Highway.
The footage shows Grant, a freelance photographer and expedition guide, surrounded underwater by up to 60 Manta Rays which were feeding and travelling past in large numbers.
He explained: “I went on this trip to promote a dive company and promote diving and tourism in the Maldives.
“Hanifaru bay is a very unique place as it’s one of the only places in the world where Mantas gather in such high numbers at the same time to feed.
“The unique underwater topography of the area causes plankton to be concentrated into the bay which is what attracts so many Mantas.
“This is also one of the only places in the world where you can witness a ‘Manta Tornado’, which is when a large group of Manta’s swim in a circular motion to gather the plankton together in order to feed more efficiently.
“I was in complete awe of the entire event. I was literally surrounded by over 60 Manta Rays swimming around in all directions; it was as if i was standing in the middle of a Manta Ray highway!
“The Mantas were so busy feeding that they didn’t seem bothered by me at all.
“Hanifaru Bay is a very unique place due to the natural events that occur here, which is why it is very heavily protected and monitored by the Maldives government.
“Limited numbers of boats and people are allowed to visit and everyone is carefully watched by patrol boats.
“This is to ensure the longevity and protection of the animals which rely on this natural occurring event for survival”.