Meet the Feeding Machines of Maldives’ Hanifaru Bay

Ask any seasoned diver and they will tell you Maldives is their Mecca.

Situated 400 miles south of India, it is a diver’s paradise adorned with blue seas and breathtaking visibility. Just northeast of Male, the capital of Maldives lays Hanifaru Bay.

Hanifaru Bay is a moon-shaped corral reef that attracts countless divers and tourists every year. When the tide goes out and the planktons are trapped in the bay, this is where the magic happens!

In one of the most astounding sights ever seen, hundreds of manta rays enter Hanifaru Bay simultaneously. Here, they begin a feeding ritual, feasting on the planktons for the next few days until there’s none left.

Like synchronized swimming, these gigantic manta rays form a cyclone. They trap all the planktons in the middle of a spiraling vortex, swopping in with their mouths wide open.

In a clip shot by Muha, one of Maldive’s famed photographers, it can be seen how systematic the manta rays appear. They’ve been waiting a long time to coral the planktons right where they want them. It’s truly fascinating!

As for the divers and onlookers, it’s a visual feast that leaves everyone breathless. Every year, these filter feeders amaze people who flock Hanifaru Bay just to witness the action. With manta rays being one of the most mysterious sea creatures on the planet, it’s truly a sight to behold.

Want in on the action? Feeding season is between May to November. However, divers consider late July to early October to be the best time to visit.