When the freckled manta ray on divers Jake Wilton and Monty Halls arrived, they were shocked to see fishhooks under their right eye.
It was more surprising that she stopped near them and asked for help.
Jake dived down several times, each time he swam up close and removed the hooks from her skin. Freckles waited patiently until he was done.
Jake has since volunteered to Freckles and told BBC News that she's fine, and possibly even recognized him.
"I went down to dive [to check up on her] and she stopped and hung over me for about 30 seconds ̵
Freckles – so named because of a unique pattern of freckles on their tummy – are considered to be around 30 years old. She is a venerable old lady in Manta Ray years.
Jake says it's likely that she flew over the seabed to scoop up plankton when the discarded hooks used in sport fishing were trapped near her eye.
It's a common problem in Coral Bay, he says, though he adds that "this is the first time we're approaching each other and trying to get out [the hooks]."
"It's all a coincidence, but many of the reefs in the bay are areas where manta rays need to be cleaned by wrasses to stay healthy," he explains. "People are fishing on these cleaning stations and accidentally hooking in the mantas."
Boats are another major threat to manta rays in the area – most of the injuries divers see are caused by boat propellers.
Jake says he and his colleagues are trying to conquer protected areas on the reef "to create [the manta rays] at least some safe places".
"All living mantas established here before tourism come to the end of their lifespan," he says.
"The biggest concern now is when these guys go, the new manta rays coming in … will call this place their home or will they come here and think," Oh, that's not & # 39; t a very good place to be cleaned, there are too many boats, too many tourists & # 39; "
Manta Rays are not dangerous – in fact, they are widely considered gentle giants of the sea." Jake adds that they are extremely intelligent and have great memories.
"During their lifetime, they will visit certain areas that they visit visit at certain times of the year, and they remember these places and have relationships with other manta rays, "he says.
" That's why it's so important to protect these areas because they need to return to them. "