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Kona Manta Ray Identification Project
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Miss Tottie
image by Carrie Damewood 2016/02/03
Number: 256
Name: Miss Tottie
Sex: Female
Current Size: ~13'-15'
Last Sighting: February 3, 2016
First Size: ~13'-15'
First Sighting: February 3, 2016
Miss Tottie
image by Carrie Damewood 2016/02/03

I along with 5 of my closest friends travel to Kona every year in January. We shore dive up and down the coast. On Wednesday February 3, the group decided to get 2 dives in up at Mahukona (old sugar mill). The first dive was great and we got to dive with 2 different mantas. They reacted very similarly to most of the mantas that we encounter during the day. They hang around for a few moments and then typically swim off. It still made for an amazing dive. Little did we know the next dive would even top that!

We headed north at the Mohukona dive site staying fairly close to shore. We were at a depth of 32' when we came across a very large female manta that looked to be at a cleaning station. As we approached her, she seemed to be just as curious to see us as we were to see her. We kept our distance and started to take pictures and video. I think she liked it because she kept swimming closer and closer to us. She continued to swim around our group, making loops around us and giving us all an up close view of just how beautiful and graceful she was. She kept this up for about 25 min, staying nice and close. Every few minutes she would go back to the original spot where we first encountered her. She would almost rest on top of the coral head. At this point we were about 45 minutes into the dive and had to start heading back to shore. When we turned around to start swimming away she started to follow us. About 30 seconds after that, she decided it was her turn to go in the opposite direction. We have dove with Mantas all around the globe and this was by far our best Manta experience!

As for naming her, we would love for her to be named "Miss Tottie". The name Miss Tottie represents our group. There are 10 of us who typically travel together, dive together, and have shared some amazing experiences over the years. Our group name is the "tot posse" which came about on a dive weekend where we traveled over to the Oregon Coast together. It's corny but awesome. We were sitting around the campfire and one of the group had a deep fryer and some tater tots. We didn't really have any other food around so we made a ton of tater tots and thats how the name was created for us. We are a very close knit group and we are all very special to each other. Even though not all of the members of our group were able to be there, we all still share the experience. That is the reason why we would love to name her Miss Tottie.