From May and November, the lagoon on Hanifaru, a tiny islet in the Maldives, fills with plankton - a phenomenon thought to occur when lunar tides push against the Indian Ocean's monsoon current and suck plankton to the surface. Hundreds of manta rays go there to gorge, and Michael joined them. 'Nothing,' he says, 'could have prepared me for the exhilaration of being there. On occasions I was literally sucked into a spiral of huge mantas, bouncing off them, in and out, up and down. The excitement was too great to feel pain. Even with a fish-eye lens, it was impossible to capture the spectacle.'
Nikon D3 + 16mm f2.8 lens; 1/125 sec at f16; ISO 500; Seacam S45 housing; Ikelite S200 strobes.
Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll, Maldives