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Underwater Photo Location: Gulf Of Papagayo

Underwater Photo Location: Gulf Of Papagayo

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One of the best land based dives in Costa Rica is at the Catalina Islands between the months of November and May. That is the best time to have an opportunity to see giant Pacific manta rays. These are not just ordinary manta rays but Manta birostris . This species of manta ray can have a wingspan of up to 24 feet (about 7 meters) and weigh up to nearly 3,000 pounds (1,360 kg). These enormous animals feed primarily on the microscopic plants and animals found in the plankton that is so plentiful at Catalina Islands.

They glide by you in no particularly hurry allowing you to get a good view and take prized photographs. The distinctive patterns on their bodies provide a personal signature for each manta. Some are nearly all black, while others sport white chevrons on their backs. The patterns and sometimes scars make the mantas easy to recognize.
The manta’s mouths are bracketed by two flexible cephalic lobes that look almost like horns when rolled up. During feeding, these lobes unfurl in a downward direction like two arms and appear to sweep plankton toward the mouth. When not feeding the lobes roll back up or are held in a relaxed gesture beneath the mouth with the tips nearly touching. Mantas do have teeth. To be more precise, they have rows of tiny pinhead-sized teeth along the lower jaw. The teeth are probably no rougher than the sandpaper hide of the manta are useless as a defensive tool. During mating the male grasps one of the female’s wingtips in his mouth as he swims under her for a brief belly-to-belly 90 second interlude in which the eggs are fertilized. It probable that the teeth help hold the female in position much like sharks do during mating.
During the manta ray season at Catalina Islands the water is cooler than normal and you should wear a full 3MM wet suit or maybe even a 5MM if you chill easily. If the water is not cold enough for a 3MM then it is probably not cold enough to see schooling, giant manta rays. You should make reservations in advance for Catalina Islands as you don’t want to miss this opportunity to swim with the giant manta rays.
Bill Beard website

Facts about Gulf Of Papagayo
  • It is in Costa Rica
  • Gulf Of Papagayo is in the Pacific.
  • The typical depth is 0-30 Metres 0-100 Feet.
  • The typical visibility is 3-10 Metres 10-30 Feet.
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