Caught on camera: Manta rays circle in waters off Windward Oahu

Photo: Ryan De Seixas

A sailing trip with friends quickly turned into an exciting experience when Ryan De Seixas came across three manta rays off Windward Oahu.

It happened more than a year ago, but recently his video took off on social media.

The Waialua resident says they were sailing toward Chinaman’s Hat and were about to jump in the water when he saw something moving at the water’s surface.

That’s when he realized they were giant manta rays — three of them to be exact.

“They were just kind of swimming together, and then sure enough, I noticed as I was filming them, they started to do that circular formation, just like a dance or something. I just remember being shocked looking at the screen watching it,” De Seixas said. “It was a cool thing to see for sure, just thinking to myself like wow, kind of looking at the screen and making sure it was actually recording, because it was like a National Geographic moment.”

A manta ray expert says the circular behavior could mean one of two things — they’re either feeding on plankton or courting.

Ryan says he had never seen mantas in Hawaiian waters before, and this encounter will definitely be one he’ll never forget.

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