Dive Crew

Vincent Chew
Director

Vincent is the Singaporean Owner and Managing Director of White Manta Diving. A former Naval and Commando diver. He has 35 years of diving experience and has spent 27 years doing diving business. A PADI Instructor since 1990, Vincent is still diving every month and is very passionate about what he does. He particularly loves meeting new people on dive trips and building new dive boats.

His all-time favourite dive destinations are Raja Ampat, Komodo and Banda Sea. Vincent's next dream is to build a diving pool for his diving family and instructors working for White Manta.

 

OFFICE

 
Maximilian Hand
Operations Manager

Max learnt to dive in the refreshingly cool waters of the UK in 1999 and has continued to dive in many amazing countries and dive sites. Based in Phuket since 2006, Max is living his dream by working as an instructor. Whether he is teaching, guiding, or just talking about fishes, he wishes to share his passions with every diver. He does that at White Manta Diving as the office "Dive Desk Jockey". Although he does not get wet as often these days, he is always ready and willing to answer your queries and helping you plan your diving adventures. Max's personal creed is: Dream the Dive, Dive the Dream.

 
Mike Thomas
Operations Manager

Mike has worked as cruise director, assistant. CD & instructor on both the East and West coasts of Thailand, and the incredibly rich and diverse waters of Komodo National Park in Indonesia. He now assists Max with operations in the office but regularly joins our vessels.

As a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Mike has more than 500 certifications and plenty of experience looking after both experienced and new divers alike. When diving, Mike is a little old-fashioned in that all his favourite underwater inhabitants are bigger than him. If there is a shark, manta, dolphin, turtle or whaleshark in the water – that is when he is at his happiest! However, on the numerous occasions that the big guys are hiding away from the reef, Mike is more than happy to scour the underwater world for the macro life that excites even the most jaded underwater photographer.

 

CRUISE DIRECTORS

 
Christopher Hutton
Cruise Director (CD) KM Raja Manta

Chris moved to Thailand in 2005 to pursue his dream of becoming a dive instructor. While working with another dive shop there in 2006, he met Vincent who was instantly impressed with Chris's work ethic. After some initial stints in 2006 as a freelance instructor and cruise director in Thailand's Similan Islands, all with White Manta, Chris was hired full-time in 2007 as the CD on the MV White Manta (Panthip). In time, he graduated to become the CD of MV Black Manta until it moved to Indonesia in 2011 and was replaced in Thailand by the new MV White Manta (now KM Raja Manta in Indonesia since August 2016). 

Schooling fish and marine biodiversity alongside other like-minded individuals are his favourite aspects of diving. The manta ray is his favourite fish; whale sharks appear to be attracted to him, but he associates with the humble seahorse the most. He loves making new friends and sharing special moments with them underwater. 

 
Egoi Benitez
Cruise Director (CD) KM Blue Manta

Egoi was born and raised in the Basque Country. Ocean and animal lover from young, his dad introduced him and his brother to free diving and spearfishing when they were just kids. Keen swimmer in the local swimming club and spending every summer in the ocean enjoying marine life with his brother, developed on him the dream to become diving instructor. Although, studies and society guided him to a completely different world of development mechanical projects in a office; he resigned his position after few years to follow his dream of becoming a dive instructor.

After started diving career in Komodo where he spent 2 years working for a dive centre and working for another liveaboards in Indonesia; now in Blue Manta Egoi is having the time of his life, showing people the most healthy and biodiverse reefs of the planet. His aim is doing that is going to develop on people the same love he has for the reefs and make them love and protect in these not easy times for our ocean.

Having this honour and privilege; customer safety and overall experience onboard the Blue Manta are the most important things to him, also to be completely respectful with all kind of living organism and not touching or damaging anything. Being surrounded by the big school of fish and cruising around the shallow pristine reefs of Indonesian archipelago are his favourite things while diving, despite he goes crazy happy when any kind of shark appears! 

 

DIVE MASTERS

 

Stanny Manoppo
New White Manta

From a small island off the tip of North Sulawesi, Stanny has been diving since 2000, starting guiding in a resort in Manado, doing day trip dives to Bunaken, Lembeh & Bangka. Since 2003 he has been guiding divers on liveaboards. We first met Stanny when we were invited to participate in 'Sail Bunaken 2009' with MV Black Manta. His lively manner, enthusiasm and industrious attitude to helping our divers impressed us. So much, that we were delighted when he joined us in 2011, when we started operating in Indonesia. Stanny is an inspirational member of the team who regularly entertains guests with his musical jams and impressive finds underwater!

 
Herdianto Bando (Anto)
KM Raja Manta / New White Manta

Anto hails from Banggai Island, where the Banggai cardinalfish were first found. He started work on liveaboard diving boats first as boat crew in 2004. He started diving later that year and instantly fell in love with the underwater aspect of the marine industry. Therefore, he became divemaster and a very good one! Anto has an eye for detail, finding critters that many of us have never witnessed before. In January 2012 he joined KM Black Manta and is an intergral part of the 'Dream Team'. Widely considered as one of the best DM teams in all of Indonesia!

 
Dani (Batman)
KM Blue Manta

Dani, also known as “Batman,” has been with The Blue Manta since its inception in 2016. Not only is ‘Batman’ an incredibly experienced guide, his laugh and smile will disarm you within moments of meeting. Batman is also an excellent spotter underwater and loves talking to his guests about all the epic marine encounters after every dive. He is excited to welcome you on board and teach you his top-secret handshake. Are you ready?

 
Vickly Bansaleng
KM Blue Manta

Vickly is originally from Bunaken island, North Sulawesi. Not only does Vickly have eagle eyes, he can also an accomplished guitar player. Often, after diving, you will find Vickly on our sundeck practicing new songs for BBQ night. So if you have any special requests or would like to join him on one of our other guitars, don’t be shy! He’s always happy to have company.

 
Darmin Gessa
KM Blue Manta

Darmin is one of the newer team members on KM Blue Manta. Since joining us he has become known as our resident Picasso, with his excellent drawings & dive site maps. He was born and raised in Labuan Bajo, the gateway of Komodo National Park. As a keen fisherman with his dad when he was younger, he soon discovered a deep love of his surrounding reefs and became a coral ambassador & enthusiastic diver with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the tides and currents of the area. Always smiling and ready to help, you will often find Darmin making a good musical duo with Vickly on the sundeck between dives.

 
Limbert Kabes
KM Blue Manta

Limbert is our only crew member from Raja Ampat. He was born in Batanta, a beautiful island with amazing dives, tropical jungles and waterfalls. Limbert is pure kindness out of the water but when he puts on the wetsuit he becomes a spotting machine! From the big pelagic to the smallest, he can find it all for you!

 
Mimpi
KM Blue Manta

Mimpi is one of our Blue Manta veterans. Really easy to identify with his long blonde hair, he is from Bulukumba, Sulawesi. Ocean & boating are in his DNA. He reads tides and currents like no one and has the amazing ability to find his divers all the amazing creatures & critters you could ever want to see underwater, from the biggest pelagic to the smallest critters, he has an outstanding eye for UW photography and he is always popular with underwater photography enthusiasts.

 
  

INSTRUCTORS

 
Michael Smith

Michael has been diving since 1989 and has visited many iconic dive sites around South East Asia & the Caribbean (Similan and Surin islands of Thailand, Raja Ampat, Komodo Islands, Ambon, Maumere, Flores, Anambas Islands, Bali, the Lembeh Straits, Badas Islands, Banda (Spice) Islands, Layang Layang, Kota Kinabalu, Sipadan Island, the Maldives, Boracay, Malapascua and East Timor as well as in Utila, Honduras and Grand Cayman).

Michael's first dive with White Manta Diving was in July, 2002 on the old MV Vincent. That trip and another in the following month were among his most memorable to date and convinced him to earn his Dive Master's certificate with Vincent in April, 2003. 

Michael continued to upgrade his skills and earned his Open Water Scuba Instructor certificate in April 2005, his Emergency First Response Instructor certificate in November 2005 and his Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating in May 2009. Michael's experience and keen interest in the service industry, underwater photography, marine biology, human physiology and teaching children all benefit him greatly in his work as an instructor with White Manta Diving.