The boat stopped and our guide gave us instructions, “this is the manta ray channel, we’re going to drift down, being quiet, when we get to the part with the current, the boat will pick us up and we’ll do it again, 3 or 4 times.”
We spent the next ten minutes with our eyes peeled at the water, hoping to see some sign of life.
Just when whispers of “do we get a refund if we don’t see any rays?” were starting to bubble up, the guide yelled “There! Get ready, go!” And we all just lept out like we knew where we were going. We didn’t.
The guide had said “That way!”, so we went That Way. Then it changed to This Way and back to That Way. From the boat (who was not making an effort to pick us up) it must have looked like a beginner’s senior water ballet class: a bunch of uncoordinated people who couldn’t follow directions that kept popping up to say “What did he say?, I can’t hear anything” and “I can’t see anything, can you?”
My friends (I have friends! They arrived from LA to rescue me from dorm life! Everything is better with friends) caught on early and said “alright, slow down, we are know what you’re doing and we came here to relax.” Having just gotten off a long flight, they eventually made their way back to the boat, filled with the belief that this was a scam, there were no manta rays, it was only an excuse to laugh at the tourists attempting aqua aerobics and make them work a bit for dinner.
Twenty minutes later, and at least one dinners worth of calories burned, I did manage to see a manta ray – it was huge, and it buggered off pretty quickly when it heard an approaching pod of people coming to get it.
As we all piled back into the boat, the driver asked everyone if they had seen it, about half of us put up our hands. “To those who didn’t see it, at least your friends did”
(I promise I was not paid five dollars to say that I saw a ray)