Manta Ray Sighted on Jacksonville Artificial Reef


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!!

Another description of the encounter at Dive Talking

1 Response

  1. […] down, to find nothing. About a minute later I hear yelling and I turn to see this, said Joe Kistel, TISIRI. […]

  2. […] October 22, 2010, a Friday to remember for these divers who not only saw the Manta Ray but filmed her. The TISIRI team was once again working on the environment. Out collecting trash as part of a grant by West Marine. The days events were being documented on film. Joe Kistel, as the last diver to enter the water explains the story to me like this: I was just about the enter the water when Ed pops up yelling “hey big bam rayjama smellow.” The captain and I staired at each other with a chill running down the spine, believing something had happened down below. We didn’t understand a word Ed just yelled. Then Ed yells again “There a hugh frog ray down below.” Not knowing what Ed was so excited about I hurried into the water and headed down, to find nothing. About a minute later I hear yelling and I turn to see this, said Joe Kistel, TISIRI. […]

  3. I constantly spent my half an hour to read this website’s content every day along with a cup of coffee.

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