I am happy to have been asked to start writing for the Vallarta Tribune again. So, I thought I would start by letting you know some of our highlights over the past few months.
Probably one of the most exciting things we have to report on the bay are the giant manta rays (Manta birostris), that are becoming a frequent sighting for us when we are diving, and on the surface. These creatures can be up to a 23 foot wingspan, and are really impressive to dive with.
They are completely friendly creatures, and love to come and check us out. It is impossible to miss them as we lose all sunlight! When they are over our heads, we spray our bubbles onto their bellies, which stop them in their tracks. They seem to love being tickled by this.
Between Los Arcos and Majahuitas, we have been seeing a school of over 100 baby manta´s since last June. These, and the giants can be seen flying out of the water regularly, and seeing a giant manta breech is quite a spectacle. I hope they are here to stay.
The whale watching season was a thriller this year too. The Orca´s entertained me for a few weeks! The first time I saw an Orca in person was in the bay this winter. We had 3 juvenile males follow our boat along the south shore all the way to Los Arcos. On this occasion, one of my divers got straight back onto the boat. I understood, as these whales are the kings of the ocean, having no natural predators. I had these 3 less than 20 feet away from me on twice. The 3rd time I saw them, there were 5 in the pod, of which one was 20 foot long, and again, less than 20 feet from me. I was on the surface, trying to look cool, with a boat full of divers laughing at me. It was thrilling to say the least, and I wish I had reacted quicker and taken some photo’s to prove it.
The humpbacks were active this year, and suitably entertained our guests whenever we saw them. The magic moment that sticks out for me though, was seeing a mother giving birth. We went close to check her out as she seemed to be in some distress. We could see nothing wrong with her, but she was rolling about at the surface. Then, this sweet little 10 foot long, 10 ton baby appeared, flapping around at the surface with its tail, seemingly very happy. Mum got the baby and flicked it off her tail 5 or 6 times, before the pair of them happily swam off.
This bay may not have crystal clear Caribbean waters all year round, but what it lacks in warmth and clarity in the winter, it sure makes up for with its wealth diversity.
Susan Keevil – Master Instructor – PV Sea Dive – Puerto Vallarta – Mexico