A film production firm has filmed the astonishing moment a manta ray approaches a diver off the coast of Western Australia’s Ningaloo Bay, asking for assistance in removing a hook trapped beneath its eye.
Jake Wilton, an underwater photographer and guide, was swimming off the coast of Ningaloo Bay when Freckles, a local manta ray, approached him.
The meeting was captured on video, with the manta ray spreading its wings wide for easy access and motioning Mr Wilton to remove the hook.
“She got closer and closer, and then she started unfurling to show me the eye,” he explained.
“She was showing us the hook, so you could see she trusted us.
“I realized we needed to get the hook out of her eye or she’d be in severe danger.
“I dropped down for one last shot, and the manta kept perfectly motionless in the water.”
After numerous attempts, the 30-year-old eventually succeeds in removing the hook, emerging triumphantly from the water as the ray glides majestically away.
Freckles must have realized Mr Wilton was attempting to help, according to fellow swimmer Monty Halls, who was onboard the divers’ boat the entire time.
“Jake went down and down, and she didn’t move,” Mr Halls explained.
“I’m sure the manta was aware that Jake was attempting to remove the hook.
“That woman was very aware of what was going on.
“That is one of the most incredible sights I’ve ever seen underwater.”
Only a month ago, a Ningaloo Reef pilot filmed two whale sharks mating off the coast of Exmouth.
The unusual sight is said to be one of the first occasions the world’s largest living fish, which migrates up the Western Australian coast every year to the tropical waters of the Ningaloo Reef, has been spotted mating.
Ningaloo Reef is one of the world’s longest fringing coral reefs.
More than 500 tropical fish species, as well as humpback whales, dolphins, whale sharks, dugongs, and turtles, live in the World Heritage-listed site, which spans for more than 300 kilometers along the coastline.
Coral Bay, located along a stretch of Ningaloo Reef, is a well-known location for swimming with manta rays, who congregate in huge numbers in the region all year.