Manta rays are visible everywhere in subtropical and tropical waters but usually not in the Caribbean sea. First occurence in St Martin,as far as I know, was 3 years ago, a manta ray was seen in Marigot,Grand Case and Anse Marcel (St Martin French side) for a few days, (it was reported that it may have been 2 different mantas at the same time) swimming by the beach in shallow water between tourists legs filtering plancton.
Two days ago a new Manta ray appeared in Anse Marcel, by the beach again, the Manta was not scared by the crowd and even went to contact with a paddle boarder. My friend Johann caught the images with his drone, you can have a look on youtube: Manta Ray and SUP
Well, my turn came yesterday. I was on Anguilla, in Meads bay, working on Scoobitoo (charter catamaran) when Axel, one of my guest came back from the beach and told me he saw a huge manta ray going along the one mile long shore. It was time to lift anchor so that what we did, and just before the end of the beach I saw the dark shadow of a huge beast not far from the edge of the beach, some people were running along the beach, astonished by such a sight. I couldn't help to jump from the boat as captain Philip was slowing the engines down. I swam to the manta ray encounter, and swam along with her for 5 good minutes. That was just magical,I could have touched it, the tip of her fin was under my chin, but I didn't want to scare her.
So here are the pictures and video I got from my gopro H3, I was so excited by the moment that I didn't focus on the framing ;)