German Flag seems a strange name for a dive site, but if you look at the nearby cliffs of south Komodo Island you will see the three horizontal bands of coloured rock that gave the site its name. This site is swept by cooler, nutrient rich waters upwelling from the depths. The resulting plankton blooms attract schools of tiny fish and, most famously, aggregations of manta rays. Mantas can be found here in the shallow waters throughout the year, easily spotted just below the cliffs or swimming on the surface. This is a great spot for snorkelling amongst these magnificent creatures. One operator recalls a large group of guests swimming with the mantas, hanging just outside the whitewash as the swell rolled in and crashed against the cliffs. A huge aggregation of mantas was feeding, swimming straight through the group left, right and centre, seemingly oblivious to the swimmers in the water, who were so enraptured they stayed until their fingers started to turn blue! While the mantas are the main attraction at German Flag, there are also some large boulders just offshore lying in about 15 m of water. The coral life on these boulders is fantastic, and they harbour big groupers, Napoleon wrasse, surgeonfish and giant trevally. Turtles are also often seen in this area. German Flag is exposed to wind and swells from the south, and there is often a moderate current running. To avoid fighting the current, it is best to approach this dive as a drift along the cliff face. Nearby is a small shallow bay that is protected from the current and surge, and a great place for more timid snorkelers to wet their fins.
The reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae, the largest rays in the world. Among generally recognized species, it is the second-largest species of ray, only surpassed by the giant oceanic manta ray
Bleaching occurs when corals expel their symbiotic zooxanthellae - pigmented, algae-like protozoa that live within the coral's cells. High temperature, pollution or other stresses can cause the coral to expel its zooxanthellae, leading to a lighter or complete loss of color.