Night Snorkeling with the Manta Rays - Big Island Hawaii

by James
(San Mateo, CA)

I went night snorkeling with the Manta Rays on the Big Island. I am a beginner snorkeler and very much afraid of deep water. I knew that it was the thing to do from watching all the various videos and reviews.

I did practice with a snorkeling vest in a swimming pool a couple of times prior to the trip. These practice sessions showed me how very little air I had to use to keep afloat (3-6 breaths) with hardly any indication that the vest had any air in it.

My wife, who is a better swimmer than me, was very reluctant to go. She never took the time to practice with the vest and she just didn't like the idea of snorkeling at night in the ocean. Our particular tour (Coral Reef) limits the number of participants to 6, which also helped to make us feel at ease. The ring they provided was about 4 ft in diameter, with the lights mounted in the center.

The captain anchored about 25 yards away from the other boats, which numbered about 10. We were at the Kona Airport site. Once we entered the water, we did not swim toward the other groups, but toward a private boat that was also anchored away from the others.

It was amazing that the mantas came to our light first, three very large ones. We had these mantas to ourselves for about 10 minutes, when our guide started moving us toward the large group which was about 40 yards away. The manta followed us as we made our way toward the others.

It is like everyone described, it is really a once in a lifetime experience, we were mesmerized by how graceful the mantas swam past, under and around us.

With all the lights it was like an underwater stage show. During the course of the evening, about a total of 11 manta rays showed up.

We stayed in the water for about an hour.

My wife has not stopped talking about this to all her friends and keeps stating that it was the best tour in our lifetime.

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May 10, 2012
Very Brave!
by: Galen & Nicole

Wow, your very first time snorkeling and you go on a night snorkel with Manta Rays?! You are braver than us. It took us years to get the courage to snorkel at night. Thanks for the nice story.

We got some pictures and videos we share along with our story of night snorkeling with the manta rays.

May 10, 2012
by: Cary Bennett

Yay!!! Isn't it just THE most amazing experience ever???!!!! Oh, and folks, being in the water at night and all, it is really not scary like you might think. All you do is float on the surface on your tummy holding onto a floating hoop. Your guide is right there, as well as the others with you. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience!

So glad you decided to do it! I still get chill bumps when I think about it!

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Night Manta Snorkel - Big Island Hawaii

by Cary Bennett
(Roswell, GA)

Manta at the cleaning station - Big Island

Manta at the cleaning station - Big Island

We took the night manta snorkel trip on the Big Island September, 2011. It was absolutely the most surreal and awesome experience we have ever had!!! If you get to the Big Island, don't miss doing this.

We went with a company called "Sunlight on Water", Capt. "China" Mike and his wife are truly dedicated to what they do and have a very deep and spiritual connection with the dolphins and creatures that inhabit the waters there. I highly recommend them!

They also have a swim with the wild dolphins trip that was very thrilling and spiritually moving! On that trip we also saw mantas on the reef during the day at the "cleaning station", slowly cruising along the reef. It was beautiful.

For another terrific experience snorkeling, be sure to check out "Captain Zodiac" and take their snorkeling trip to Kealakekua Bay. It was incredibly beautiful!! The water is crystal clear and the reef and fish are stunning. They have a really neat Zodiac that you ride in/on that is loads of fun! You also get to experience the sea caves along the coastline and see the Goddess Pele! It was an unforgettable day.

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Nov 15, 2012
by: Galen & Nicole

Thanks Cary for your post! We went with the same company. They only take snorkelers which was a plus for us.

The night manta snorkel is a very unique experience. They get incredibly close to you and they are so graceful in their movements. It feels like a trade; we shine lights that attract their food and they give us the show of our lives. Awesome!

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