Manta ray gives diver swim of a lifetime
Friday, March 27, 2015, 9:55 AM - It was a swim that this lucky diver isn't going to forget.
Josh Stewart had an unexpected experience when he dived into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru in search of a giant manta ray.
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After encountering a 15-feet manta he tried to photograph's the ray's underbelly—a common practice to ID the manta—when the cheeky animal decided to take the diver on a quick swim.
Pushed by the ray, Stewart was forced to somersault under water before the animal swam away.
"I was just swimming down as I usually do to capture a manta ID shot and before I knew it, I was engulfed in the wings of this massive manta as I tumbled through the water," Stewart told GrindTv. "I suffered no injuries but it was certainly a big surprise."
Mantas are generally calm around divers. In fact, many people are able to hold on to the ray's back and go for a swim alongside the animal.
Why did the manta flip
Shawn Heinrichs the cinematographer that captured the moment thinks the manta may have never encountered a diver before and was startled.
Perhaps out of curiosity, or possibly to send a not-so-subtle message, the manta performed its acrobatic somersault and scooped Josh's fins between its cephalic fins, sending Josh spinning," Heinrichs wrote in a blog.
But whether or not the flip was meant as a message, it's clear that Stewart lived through a truly unique moment.
"In all my years of filming and interacting with manta rays, I have never witness such an extraordinary interaction between a manta ray and a swimmer," Heinrichs added.
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