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Join scientists and researchers on citizen-science research cruises in the Maldives, Indonesia and Thailand. Make your dive holiday count and contribute to vital manta ray research and conservation.

MANTA EXPEDITIONS HIGHLIGHTS
  • Some of the world’s leading manta experts as expedition leaders
  • Expert knowledge to maximise close encounters with manta rays and other marine megafauna
  • Informative presentations on the marine life and research initiatives
  • Guests actively involved in, and contribute directly to, meaningful research
  • High-end liveaboards ensuring exclusive, enriched experiences
  • World class opportunities for underwater photography
FACILITIES
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Citizen Science
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About Manta Expeditions

Manta Expeditions

Manta Expeditions make it their mission to raise awareness and provide education on manta ray conservation through eco-minded dive and snorkel trips, with a focus on getting guests in close proximity to manta rays, whale sharks and other ‘wish list’ marine species, while imparting expert knowledge and skills. Closely affiliated to the Manta Trust, Manta Expeditions covers the cost of the vessel, staff and associated costs for each trip.  In addition to this, Manta Expeditions hosts at least one Manta Trust conservationist on board who will use their time to undertake valuable data gathering whilst also helping to guide and educate guests about manta rays, devil rays and their ocean environments.  Finally, Manta Expeditions makes an annual donation to Manta Trust to fund research and conservation work globally.

The Experience

The focus of their expeditions is to not only provide close encounters with manta rays but to educate divers in marine conservation issues and the environment surrounding them. Manta Expeditions trips ensure that divers leave with an increased awareness of the threats these graceful creatures are facing and how they can help. Workshops in collecting and recording manta ID images give divers and snorkelers the tools to get involved, knowing that they are contributing meaningful data to the project.

The Manta Trust

The Manta Trust has research and conservation projects located all around the world at many of the ocean’s top manta ray dive destinations. At each, the Project Leaders’ expertise and local knowledge of the manta ray population and the natural history of the region ensures our guests receive an exciting yet educational experience.

Why Choose Manta Expeditions?

By joining a Manta Expedition you will take an active part in cutting-edge scientific research, gaining knowledge about mantas and other endangered marine life and financially contributing to the Manta Trust's global conservation effort!

  • Contribute to research;
  • Gain knowledge and education;
  • Support conservation.

Citizen Science - Get involved!

During these expeditions, guests will have the opportunity to experience and participate in cutting edge conservation research to protect one of the ocean’s most majestic animals. Manta Trust scientists will be collecting photographic identification images of all mantas encountered throughout the expedition - a task that guests are welcome and encouraged to participate in. All new manta rays will be added to the database and guests will be invited to name these new mantas. Every manta sighting is crucial information in developing effective management and conservation strategies for these increasingly vulnerable animals.

Itineraries
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DEEP SOUTH, MALDIVES

On this expedition we will explore the pristine and remote south of the Maldives, home to the big pelagics! Diving the southern atolls of Huvadhoo, Fuvahmulah and Addu you will experience some of the most stunning and untouched reefs the country has to offer, with the chance to encounter many of the top “must see” marine species such as whale sharks, tiger sharks and mantas. This trip will also provide us with the great opportunity to gather critical data on the poorly studied manta ray population found in these southern atolls.

At this time of the year oceanic mantas aggregate in the southern atoll of Fuvahmulah allowing some of the most breathtaking underwater encounters with the largest rays of our planet! Located just above the equator and distant from any other Maldivian island, the atoll of Fuvahmulah acts as a seamount, attracting large ocean wonderers and hosting a great diversity for marine life!

MANTA PASSION, BAA & NORTHERN ATOLLS, MALDIVES

Differing from other Manta Expeditions, on this trip we aim to dive almost exclusively with mantas, carrying out long surveys on both cleaning and feeding sites, exploring and looking for new manta aggregation sites and undertake more in-depth research activities. Activities planned to be undertaken on this special expeditions include animal wing span measurements, ultrasound scanning for pregnancies and photo identification! 

Baa Atoll is off the main route for the majority of dive liveaboards. We will venture into this more northern atoll for a few days specifically to seek out the spectacular feeding mantas of Hanifaru Bay (and hopefully a few whale sharks as well!). To see one of the world’s largest fish feeding amongst dozens of one of the world’s largest rays is something most people will never forget.

On this particular expedition we will cruise north into Raa, Noonu and Shaviyani Atolls. Here we will conduct surface and in-water surveys, with the aim of identifying new manta aggregation sites whilst gathering critical data on the mantas inhabiting these remote atolls, of which very little is currently known. For the first time, the Manta Passion will venture even further north, into Haa Dhaalu and Haa Alifu Atolls, in order to visit some of the least known manta aggregation sites of the country while also taking the chance to dive some of the reachest and most colorful sites the country has to offer! While the weather in the Maldives at this time of the year is likely to be more variable, these monsoonal conditions are exactly what create the planktonic blooms upon which the mantas and whale sharks aggregate to feed. Furthermore, we can never guarantee these natural events, but we have put together a trip which maximises our chances of being in the right place at the right time, guided by the expertise of one of the Manta Expeditions guide.

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BAA, RAA & LHAVAYANI, MALDIVES

This expedition has been specifically timed to coincide with the most productive monsoon winds and lunar currents, which strongly influence the movements and feeding habits of reef manta rays. The aim of this trip is to use the knowledge of Manta Trust experts to find these feeding aggregations and allow the guests to experience the wonder of immersing yourself amongst a feeding frenzy of these gentle giants.

On this expedition we will explore the pristine and rarely visited northern atolls of Baa, Raa and Lhaviyani diving on untouched reefs and looking for poorly studied manta ray populations. A trip designed especially for adventurers looking for something new and rarely offered in the Maldives!

Baa Atoll is off the main route for the majority of dive liveaboards and we will venture into this more northern atoll specifically to seek out the feeding mantas and hopefully a few whale sharks as well. To see several of the world’s largest fish feeding amongst dozens of the world’s largest rays is something most people will never forget.

Just north of Baa we will venture into Raa Atoll, one of most unexplored atolls of the Maldives regularly visited by mantas and hosting some stunning dive sites. Vertical walls covered in soft corals, gardens of anemones and mantas gliding above our heads are only a few of the marvels of this region.

Before descending back to Malé we will finally visit Lhaviyani Atoll, another spectacular northern atoll. Here sharks, schools of eagle rays, tunas and other large pelagic fishes will be the main characters of our dives with the possibility of encountering more manta rays and dive one of the most beautiful shipwrecks of the country.

While the weather in the Maldives at this time of the year is likely to be more changeable, these monsoonal conditions are exactly what create the planktonic blooms upon which the mantas and whale sharks aggregate to feed. Furthermore, we can never guarantee these natural events, but we have put together a trip, which maximises our chances of being in the right place at the right time, guided by the expertise of The Manta Trust’s expert staff.

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NORTHERN ATOLLS, MALDIVES

This expedition has been specifically timed to coincide with the most productive monsoon winds and lunar currents, which strongly influence the movements and feeding habits of reef manta rays. The aim of this trip is to use the knowledge of Manta Trust experts to find these feeding aggregations and allow the guests to experience the wonder of immersing yourself amongst a feeding frenzy of these gentle giants.

On this expedition we will venture all the way to the rarely visited northermost atolls of the Maldives looking for understudied manta populations and diving some of the most untouched reefs the country has to offer! This trip designed especially for adventurers looking for something new and rarely offered in the Maldives!

Descending through Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Shaviyani and Noonu Atolls we will dive some incredibly colorful and rich reefs while surveying rarely visited manta aggregation sites. Raa and Baa Atolls are home to huge number of mantas during this season and we will make sure to spend the necessary time here to make the most of what these two atolls have to offer, in particular we will visit Hanifaru Bay for a chance to swim with mass feeding mantas and, who known, maybe one or two whale sharks as well! Lhaviyani is another spectacular northern atoll. Here sharks, schools of eagle rays, tunas and other large pelagic fishes will be the main characters of our dives with the possibility of encountering more manta rays and dive one of the most beautiful shipwrecks of the country.

While the weather in the Maldives at this time of the year is likely to be more changeable, these monsoonal conditions are exactly what create the planktonic blooms upon which the mantas and whale sharks aggregate to feed. Furthermore, we can never guarantee these natural events, but we have put together a trip, which maximises our chances of being in the right place at the right time, guided by the expertise of The Manta Trust guides.

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KOMODO, INDONESIA

The diversity of marine life in Komodo National Park is so unique, the park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and considered one of the seven nature wondersof the world! The mix of large and small animals, reef creatures and pelagics, invertebrates and vertebrates, shallow reefs, drop-offs and drift dives, produces exceptional diving, as expected of a key site within the Coral Triangle - the epicentre for the planet’s marine biodiversity.

While on board we expect to visit multiple, globally-renowned manta ray sites within the marine park, the entrance fee for which directly supports marine conservation and community development projects within the region. Like all of our Manta Trust Expeditions, part of the money generated from this trip goes back into the charity to fund our charitable aims and conservation initiatives.

The itinerary will vary depending on manta sightings, and will be aimed at maximising our encounters with these ocean giants. With one of the largest populations of reef manta rays in the world, resident year round, Komodo National Park is among the best destinations to encounter these inquisitive species. It also offers a chance to encounter the elegant black morph reef mantas that are typical of this region’s population! During the expedition we will dive both the north and south of Komodo and visit the famous manta cleaning stations of Karang Makassar and Manta Alley, where mantas often aggregate in large number to socialise and mate during this season.

But Komodo offers so much more than mantas, and we will have the opportunity to experience its whole diversity throughout the expedition and dive the famous sites such as Batu Bolong, Crystal Rock and Shotgun! Schools of trevally, gardens of colourful soft coral, barracudas, bizarre nudibranches, and of course, a visit on-land to encounter the legendary Komodo dragon!

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SIMILANS & SURINS, THAILAND

The famous Similan Islands scenery offers stunningly beautiful white sandy beaches while under the surface you may experience a diverse life including zebra sharks, giant trevallies and blue spotted stingrays. The coral gardens, swim-throughs and boulder formations found here are wonderful to dive. Koh Bon is another of the highlights of our expedition as this is the place where it is most likely to see manta rays! Encounters with Napoleon wrasses and great barracudas are also common. Koh Tachai will offer us another chance of seeing mantas alongside turtles, barracudas, pipe fishes and stunning nudibranches. Finally, we will visit Richelieu Rock, where gorgeous purple soft corals and magnificent sea anemones cover most of the site. The marine life here is prolific and includes, amongst many other things, Pharaoh cuttlefish, octopuses, ornate ghost pipefish, mantis shrimps, harlequin shrimps, tiger tail sea horses, frog fishes, schooling snapper and occasionally even manta rays and whale sharks!

The scenery of the Surin islands with evergreen forests, mangroves and small beaches, surpasses even that of the picturesque Similan Islands. Under water the reefs of Surin have the greatest hard coral diversity in Thailand. You are likely to see Napoleon wrasse, yellow-masked angelfish, bumphead parrotfish, tomato anemonefish and barramundi, as well as lots of turtles that still come ashore in this area to lay their eggs. Because of the remoteness not many liveaboard boats visit these islands and you will be able to enjoy the dive sites without sharing it with tourist hordes.

There is a choice of easily diveable wrecks between The Similan Islands and Khao Lak. The Boonsung and the Premchai are old tin miners that were sank 25 or so years ago and are a treat for underwater photographers as well as lovers of life of all kinds!! Only in 18m of water they are covered in nudibranchs and shrimps as well as large numbers of the unusual honeycomb moray.

Vessels
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M/Y CONTE MAX, MALDIVES

Back in 2004, the Maldives did not offer many boats that boasted the same comfort and standard for non-divers as the country’s various island resorts. With the launch of the Conte Max that year, the concept of a cruise that combines the rejuvenating experience of diving in the Maldives, with the wellbeing of an on-board ayurvedic spa, was born.

Since its launch, the Conte Max has become one of the best-known and best-loved boats amongst those that regularly visit the Maldives. At 33m in length, she offers eight elegant and comfortable cabins, each with their own spacious en-suite bathroom and air-conditioning.

Scuba diving excursions are delivered by a traditional Maldivian dhoni that accompanies the main vessel. When taking a break from the underwater world, the Conte Max offers three sundecks, a bar, two restaurants, onboard WiFi, and TV + CD/DVD player facilities, with a wide-collection of music and movies on offer to help you relax. And of course, there is the Massage Centre, with an onboard Indian masseur offering Ayurvedic treatments to help you unwind.

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MY BLUE VOYAGER, MALDIVES

M/Y blue Voyager was built specifically for divers and originally sailed in the Red Sea. She welcomes 26 divers on board with spacious modern comfort, providing the best Maldivian diving experience. M/Y blue Voyager is a 37-metre, steel hulled vessel that boasts three roomy double cabins and ten twin cabins and features an indoor dining area, a bar and sky lounge, as well as a Jacuzzi. A shaded outdoor lounge area can be found on the Mid Deck, plus four different sun decks: a viewing deck located at the front of both the Mid Deck and Upper Deck, an open air deck on the Top Deck and an ocean deck at the stern of the boat, all providing comfortable seating and loungers.

The ocean deck is a unique feature allowing guests to relax in the open air while close to the water. On many evenings the flood lights will illuminate the water just off the ocean deck to attract plankton which brings the manta rays and whale sharks.

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MSY AURORA, INDONESIA

The MSY Aurora is a spacious, double masted, teak motor-sail yacht, built following the traditional ‘Pinisi’ style and designed for a discerning dive clientele. Guests aboard will experience modern comfort combined with the charm of a traditional boat.

Aurora was built in Sulawesi following modern and environmentally friendly principles and will give guests the opportunity to explore remote areas which only a few – if any – have seen. The yacht has 8 double cabins each with private bathroom, A/C and daily room service to make your cruise enjoyable and comfortable. A crew of 14 members will welcome you on-board and will be dedicated to making your Indonesian experience a memory you will never forget.

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THE PHINISI

Officially known as ‘Cheng I Sao’, The Phinisi is fully equipped to accommodate 18 divers in 7 en-suite cabins with individual air conditioning units. Guests can choose between flexible double / twin, fixed twins, and quad cabins. Full of character and charm, The Phinisi also has quite a remarkable history. Custom built in 2007 as a liveaboard yacht in classic Indonesian Phinisi style, she became part of the WWDAS fleet as Sampai Jumpa Lagi. In 2008, she was renamed Siren; the first vessel to bear the name of what later became the well known Siren Fleet. The Phinisi has had a break from hosting liveaboards for the last couple of years; instead she has been cruising on day trips around the islands near Phuket. Now she is back as The Junk’s sister! New colours, new name, but with the same characteristic style and outstanding service that people have become accustomed to on The Junk.

CONSERVATION ACTIVITIES


Tailored for you
FEATURED PACKAGES

Join Manta Expedition experts onboard the M/Y Blue Voyager for a ‘citizen science’ expedition to explore the pristine and rarely visited northern atolls of Baa, Raa and Lhaviyani diving untouched reefs and looking for poorly studied manta ray populations. The package includes shared accommodation in standard cabins.

  • 8 days, 7 nights onboard the M/Y Conte Max.
  • Full board.
  • 3 or more dives / snorkeling excursions every day.
  • Green tax at payable onboard.
  • Entry fee to Hanifaru Bay Marine Protected Area payable onboard.
  • Service charge / crew tips to be paid onboard.

Baa, Raa and Lhaviyani

at Manta Expeditions

Search for manta rays in the northern atolls of Baa, Raa and Lhaviyani

Guided Trip Starts 13/09/2020 Ends 23/09/2020

Duration
11 Days
10 Nights
Starts At US$2500
Diving
Snorkeling

Join Manta Expeditions experts onboard the M/Y Conte Max for a ‘citizen science’ expedition specifically designed for people who are IN LOVE with manta rays, and are eager to see as much of them as possible! The aim of this trip is to find feeding aggregations, particular in the far northern atolls - new territory for the Manta Passion trips! The package includes shared accommodation in double cabins.

  • 14 days, 13 nights onboard the M/Y Conte Max.
  • Full board.
  • Transfers from Malé.
  • 3 or more dives / snorkeling excursions every day.
  • Green tax payable onboard.
  • Entry fee to Hanifaru Marine Protected Area payable onboard.

Manta Passion V - Baa & North

at Manta Expeditions

 Obsessed with manta rays? The Manta Passion expedition is for you!

Guided Trip Starts 08/10/2020 Ends 21/10/2020

Duration
14 Days
13 Nights
Starts At US$3550
Diving
Snorkeling

Join Manta Expeditions experts onboard the M/Y Conte Max for a ‘citizen science’ expedition to explore the pristine and rarely visited northern atolls of Baa, Raa and Lhaviyani diving on untouched reefs and looking for poorly studied manta ray populations. The package includes shared accommodation in standard cabins.

  • 11 days, 10 nights onboard the M/Y Conte Max.
  • Full board.
  • 3 or more dives / snorkeling excursions every day.
  • Green tax payable onboard.
  • Entry fee to Hanifaru Bay Marine Protected Area payable onboard.
  • Service charge / crew tips to be paid onboard.

Far North

at Manta Expeditions

Search for manta rays in the northern atolls of Baa, Raa and Lhaviyani

Guided Trip Starts 21/10/2020 Ends 31/10/2020

Duration
11 Days
10 Nights
Starts At US$2890
Diving
Snorkeling

Join a Manta Expeditions expert onboard the M/Y Blue Voyager for a ‘citizen science’ expedition exploring the pristine and less visited south of the Maldives, diving Huvadhoo, Fuvahmulah and Addu and visiting some of the most stunning and untouched reefs the country has to offer. The package includes shared accommodation in standard cabins.

  • 8 days, 7 nights onboard the M/Y Blue Voyager.
  • Full board.
  • 3 or more dives / snorkeling excursions every day.
  • Internal flights.
  • Green tax paid onboard.
  • Service charge / crew tips to be paid onboard.

Fuvahmulah - Far South

at Manta Expeditions

Dive with oceanic mantas, sharks and other pelagics

Guided Trip Starts 25/03/2021 Ends 01/04/2021

Duration
8 Days
7 Nights
Starts At US$2170
Diving

Join Manta Expeditions experts onboard the M/Y Blue Voyager for a ‘citizen science’ expedition to explore the pristine and rarely visited northern atolls of Baa, Raa and Lhaviyani diving on untouched reefs and looking for poorly studied manta ray populations. The package includes shared accommodation in standard cabins.

  • 11 days, 10 nights onboard the M/Y Blue Voyager.
  • Full board.
  • 3 or more dives / snorkeling excursions every day.
  • Green tax payable onboard.
  • Entry fee to Hanifaru Bay Marine Protected Area payable onboard.
  • Service charge / crew tips to be paid onboard.

Far North

at Manta Expeditions

Search for manta rays in the northern atolls of Baa, Raa and Lhaviyani

Guided Trip Starts 25/10/2021 Ends 05/11/2021

Duration
11 Days
10 Nights
Starts At US$2500
Diving
Snorkeling

Join Manta Expeditions experts onboard the MSY Aurora for a ‘citizen science’ cruise, exploring Komodo and diving world class manta sites such as Karang Makassar and Manta Alley in search of reef manta rays. The package includes shared accommodation in double cabins.

  • 8 days, 7 nights onboard the MSY Aurora.
  • Full board.
  • Transfers between the boat and Labuan Bajo.
  • 3 or more dives / snorkeling excursions every day
  • Flights to Labuan Bajo, Flores.
  • National Park fees and fuel surcharges to be paid onboard.

Komodo

at Manta Expeditions

Explore the world-renowned reefs of Komodo

Guided Trip Starts 25/08/2020 Ends 01/09/2020

Duration
8 Days
7 Nights
Starts At US$2520
Diving
Snorkeling

Join a Manta Expeditions expert onboard the M/Y Blue Voyager for a ‘citizen science’ expedition exploring the famous islands of the Similans, Koh Bon, Richelieu and Surins, in search of manta rays, leopard sharks and even whale sharks. The package includes shared accommodation in standard cabins.

  • 8 days, 7 nights onboard The Phinisi.
  • Full board.
  • 3 or more dives / snorkeling excursions every day.
  • Flights.
  • Service charge / crew tips to be paid onboard.


Similans & Surins

at Manta Expeditions

Dive in search of reef mantas, and even whale sharks

Guided Trip Starts 19/03/2021 Ends 26/03/2021

Duration
8 Days
7 Nights
Starts At US$1750
Diving

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