Kristian Laine was free diving on Lady Elliot Island in Australia in order to capture some great images of the many aquatic animals that make the Great Barrier Reef home.
Nothing could have prepared him for the shot of a lifetime that would come his way.
When Laine saw a manta train—six male manta rays chasing a female—he took a deep breath and plunged in. When he looked through the camera’s viewfinder, he noticed something strange. The manta ray leading the hunt wasn’t black or white; he was a vibrant shade of pink.
According to Laine’s account in The Dodo, “I was gazing through the lens and locked eyes with it.” “It was only after I used my strobes to capture a picture that I discovered its pink hue. Because I didn’t know there were pink mantas in the world, I was perplexed and assumed my strobes were malfunctioning.
Laine was quite sure his camera was broken, but he chose to stick with the train and take a few more pictures of the unique ray. “He was really calm,” Laine said of the rosy manta, who didn’t appear to mind the attention. “When I looked into its eyes, it seemed almost as if he was smiling or at the very least friendly.”
The entire encounter lasted only a half hour, yet it would permanently impact Laine’s life. He said, “I felt a connection there.”
When Laine returned to land, he discovered a photograph of the area’s most renowned and secretive resident, Inspector Clouseau, a bubblegum pink manta.
Laine explained, “I ran back to check in my camera.” “When I understood what I had just seen, my mouth dropped.”
Inspector Clouseau first appeared in 2015, raising speculation about what causes his pink complexion. According to National Geographic, a skin biopsy of the ray in 2016 ruled out any illness or dietary abnormalities as the cause of the hue.
According to National Geographic, scientists believe the hue is produced by a rare genetic abnormality called erythrism, which creates an unnatural redness in an animal’s skin, hair, or feathers. Or, as the case may be, a pinkness.
Despite sticking out from the throng, the 11-foot manta seemed to be doing OK. We may witness more pink mantas in the coming years if he is successful in his wooing.
For the time being, though, Inspector Clouseau is dazzled the globe – one diver at a time. “It’s quite humbling, and I consider myself really fortunate,” Laine added. “It was a really memorable day for me.”