I would argue that Socorro is THE mecca for giant manta loving including the "human manta" and the "inverted flying diver".

cdie10wI’ve been lucky enough to be one of the Captains on the Nautilus Explorer for the past 5 years and this is my 6th season running dive expeditions on the Explorer to the Revillagigedo Islands, more commonly known as the Socorro Islands.
I would argue that this destination is THE mecca of Manta lovin’, aka Manta therapy (as referred to by repeat guest Michael Millet). If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, let me explain. Manta lovin’ is the direct interaction between a diver and a giant pacific manta involving a form of underwater dance (at which the manta is much better), lots of eye contact and the use of bubbles as a tickling/massage device for the manta (and for other divers if that’s what you’re into). This underwater dance often involves multiple mantas dancing with each other as well as with you, the diver. One popular dance move is “the human manta”, whereby the diver will attempt to communicate with the manta by using his/her arms to imitate the cephalic fins of the manta. Very common but one must remember to be careful that you do not unknowingly communicate any unfriendly messages about the mantas mother, or other loved one. The “inverted flying diver” move is another common and less risky move. Here the diver will simply hover with back facing the ocean floor, looking up with arms outstretched like the wings of a manta, as the giant manta hovers over the diver often times only inches away. In this position the manta can best take advantage of the bubble making machine beneath. Other times the diver and giant manta will simply swim slowly side by side, looking into one anothers eyes.
Regardless of the particulars of this underwater dance, the result is a feeling of connection with a gentle underwater giant. It’s an amazing feeling to experience, it makes the everyday worries disappear from your mind and is in fact very therapeutic. I’ve seen it induce tears, and I’ve seen it bring guests back 4, 5 or even 6 times to the same dive destination.
Yesterday at the divesite “The Boiler”, at San Benedicto Island, all of our guests experienced three full sessions of manta lovin’, involving between 3 and 7 mantas on any given dive. I may have even had a session myself. It was our final day of diving for this expedition after 3 successful days of diving Roca Partida, where we also enjoyed mantas, schooling hammerheads and huge hunting yellow-fin tuna.
Come get some!
-Captain Gordon Kipp
Diving conditions: water temp 24C, viz at Roca Partida 80-120ft, viz at Boiler 40ft (uncommonly low), current mild to moderate.
Topside conditions: light winds, partly cloudy and a warm 30C.

By Nautilus Staff

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