The mantas shown in this picture don't really let on how many were really there were. The vis was too poor for really good wide angle photography. We estimate probably twenty or more in the area during the dive.
There were hundreds of snappers spawning near the surface in a vibrating mass, two whale sharks swam upto to the boat as we arrived in the dive area, one bumping his head on the bow, and then both of them swimming past. The resulting spawn in the water may explain in part why there were so many mantas. Even our guides commented on how unusual it was to see so many mantas in the area at one time
We lost count of the mantas we saw on this trip, pretty much every dive.
Picture taken with Nikon F4s - 20mm f2.8 - Aquatica housing - Nikonos SB105 strobes
Location: The Bay of Hanifaru, Baa Atoll, Maldives
Photographer: Robert Bailey