Alert Diver

From DAN Asia Pa­cific

Scuba Diver Australasia - - Contents - By Richard Barn­den

Palau, one of the Pa­cific’s hid­den gems, is made up of both vol­canic is­lands and over 400 un­in­hab­ited mush­room-shaped lime­stone is­lands. Wind­ing through its outer reefs to its in­ner la­goons lies an as­sort­ment of chan­nels bring­ing with it food, nu­tri­ents and plank­ton. One of Palau’s most fa­mous chan­nels is Ger­man Chan­nel, a 45-minute boat ride from Koror (Palau’s main is­land) in the south­ern la­goon.

Here, dur­ing the months of Novem­ber to De­cem­ber, ag­gre­ga­tions of 10 to 15 man­tas can be seen feed­ing on plank­ton in the late af­ter­noon on in­com­ing tides. Not only is this place spe­cial for wit­ness­ing this be­hav­iour, it also has nearby clean­ing sta­tions, where man­tas come to be rid of par­a­sites.

Around April the man­tas take ad­van­tage of the cur­rent and move to the north­ern is­lands, feed­ing and mat­ing in large num­bers. At cer­tain times, at key sites, it is pos­si­ble to see ag­gre­ga­tions of any­where from 25 to 50 man­tas feed­ing in huge trains.

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