By Mikey Jones

An underwater photographer has snapped the first sighting in 16 years of manta rays on a small island off the coast of Mexico.

Nick Polanszky, 31, has been interested in marine life since a young age and started underwater photography five years ago.

PIC BY Nick Polanszky / CATERS NEWSThe photos were taken over the course of three months from June this year at La Reina, an island in the Sea of Cortez off the coast of Baja California Sur.

Nick, who is from New Zealand but grew up in Australia, said: “I had heard of a sighting the day before and couldn’t believe it.

“I grabbed my camera and jumped on the next boat, but still, nothing prepared me for when I saw the first Giant Pacific Manta Ray appear from the deep blue.

PIC BY Nick Polanszky / CATERS NEWS

“My heart started to race knowing I was witnessing an incredible event. Manta Rays were returning to La Reina after 16 years.

“Now, 14 individual Manta Rays have been identified since June 2018, with several being sighted daily, which is very exciting for all of us here.

“I am working with an organisation here helping to identify them.

“I always had a passion for the ocean, spending most of my youth growing up around the ocean. Marine Life always fascinated me; their behaviours and interaction with one another.

PIC BY Nick Polanszky / CATERS NEWS

“I picked up my first underwater camera while diving in the Philippines five years ago and have not put one down since.”

“We hope that it will remain this way for the future. Local organisations are getting all the operators here together soon to discuss and implement ways that we can help sustain them here.”