During a Jacksonville artificial reef cleanup project this giant manta ray was spotted. His wingspan was estimated to be 20 feet long. He was absolutely gigantic! See the brief video captured below.
This was TISIRI diver’s first dive of the day and what a surprise it turned out to be: The Native Diver II arrived on the steel barge artificial reef site just before 8am. Captain Steve Parks placed the vessel directly over the wreck and diver Gene Langeman entered the water to secure the mooring line. Ed Kalakauskis and his buddy Mike were the next in to be followed by videographer and cameraman Joe Kistel.
Just before stepping into the water Kistel and Captain Parks were startled as Kalakauskis resurfaced with a anxious expression. Kalakauskis broke the surface and shouted “uugghmemmezz,” something that Kistel and Parks could not understand. Parks and Kistel were startled and assumed something was wrong but then Kalakauskis repeated himself and said "Joe, you have to get down there with the cameras...., there is a large ray." Relieved there was no issue, Kistel entered the water with camera equipment in tow and followed Kalakauskis down. Kistel assumed whatever was down there would probably be gone by the time they reached the sea floor and that it was just a large sting ray regardless. Sure enough, once on the reef site there was nothing extremely large in site. Kistel began to set up his equipment for the cleanup efforts when he heard underwater shouting and then saw the massive shadow. The video above explains the rest. What a site!!