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Manta Ray - BI

Old Aug 15th, 2005, 11:52 PM
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Manta Ray - BI

We are going to Kauai, BI and Oaha next month and heard that you can go diving/snorkeling at night with the Manta Rays in Kona- has anybody done this? is this 'eco friendly'? We also want to go up to the Observatory, should we have a couple of days in between doing both? ( considering the altitude difference?)
We'll be staying in Hilo ( which we preferred to Kona when we went a few years ago).
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Old Aug 16th, 2005, 10:17 AM
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I've never done the manta ray dive before, but I will be doing it this coming Friday.

The Pacific Manta Research Foundation has put together some guidelines to be followed during these manta dives - you can read them at http://www.mantapacific.org/mantapac...ona/index.html as well as getting a list of operators that do the dive.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 12:43 AM
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Thank you- maybe you get a chance to report back after your dive? We have never been diving before, so are wondeirng if we would be able to do this. Thanks for the link-will cehck it out!
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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You can SNORKEL but can't dive on the manta ray trip if you're not certifed to dive.

I have researched this dive trip alot because I've read in dive magazines that "when it's good, it's one of the top 10 dives in the world". I'm getting my kids certified just so we can do this dive as a family next April.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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My husband and son (28) did the Manta Ray dive out of Kona (actually the harbor just north of Kona) last year. Sorry I can't remeber the name of the company. They both snorkeled and absolutely loved it. They saw one giant manta, who swam between the divers and the snorkelers for awhile.
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Old Aug 17th, 2005, 10:49 PM
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My husband hasn't stopped talking about his Manta Ray dive this past July 5th! He went with Jack's Diving Locker, a very impressive outfit in
Kona. He dove with them throughout the week, and loved the Manta dive so much, he went the next night, too. Their store is really nice as well. The group dove down about 30 feet, then shined their flashlights upward. The brighter the flashlight the better, and/or bring two. Planton, the Ray's fav snack, is attracted to the lights. The beautiful, graceful Mantas then glide over you, nearly grazing your hair, collecting the plankton. Yes, eco friendly, safe, and just amazing! Book early. My hubby was only able to get the second Manta dive because there was a cancellation. You may want to use a bit more weight so it's easier to stay close to the bottom. That dive, alone, was worth the trip to the Big Island! Have fun!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2005, 01:43 PM
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fraukie-

Ok, I just got back from a long weekend in Kona. Did the manta ray dive on Friday night, and it was pretty neat.

We left the Honokohau Harbor at about 6:30 p.m. for a 30 minute boat ride up to the dive site. It was dark by the time we arrived, and there were a lot of other boats already there. All the dive operators pretty much have it coordinated so that the divers all get into the water about the same time.

Basically there's a milk crate with a bunch of dive lights pointed up towards the surface. All the divers have their own light which they also point upwards. The light attracts the plankton, and the mantas come in to feed.

On Friday night 3 mantas showed, which I was told was about average. A week prior they counted as high as 17 on one night - but it's all so unpredictable. Some nights the mantas don't show up at all.

The mantas are pretty impressive - they swoop down and do loops, as well as gliding over you. I had to duck several times to avoid being hit. It's pretty neat to see this huge mouth swimming towards you (2 of the mantas had tip-to-tip wingspans of about 12 feet).

While it's probably a better experience if you dive, even if you don't dive, you can snorkel from up above. Some of the people on our boat snorkeled only and I'm assuming the mantas got pretty close, since the boat captain commented that their screams were ear piercing.

I would recommend it as something pretty unique.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 12:01 AM
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chepar-
thank you very much for your report! We are now in the process of booking our 'night-snorkel-trip', as we'll only be staying in Kona for this specific reason, and then move on to Hilo.
It certainly sounds fantastic- just hope to get to see some mantas!

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Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 12:13 AM
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chepar

interesting report. i'll have to look into that. thanks
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 05:42 AM
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just an update- we booked a tour with Ocean Eco Tours,all confirmed with credicard details and flew into Kona/stayed the night there only for that reason- however, when we eventually found the place where they are, they were closed up and no sight of anybody....their neighbours said not to worry, and that the people/guide would be on his way. well we waited for 45min and nobody turned up. we called the mobile number that was given when we called their office- which was not answered either. Needless to say how dissappointed we were. we have left a message but never heard back from them....so I definitely do not recommend them!
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Old Oct 14th, 2005, 02:37 PM
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Never been the Big Island, can I ask why you prefer Hilo to Kona?
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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 04:41 AM
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Although I may sound like a hypocrite , I find Kona too touristy-I have been a few years ago, and went recently again, and found lots had changed, even more buildings,cars, *$s.
I love Hilo because it has the feel of local people living there, lots of history, lovely buildings and generally the people seem more...I don't know how to put it...sincere- in Kona I have the feeling there are a lot of people who have moved there from other parts of the world. I generally don't like the 'sales pitch' you get- and Kona is the only place I have encountered this in Hawaii. Also, I love the landscape on the Hilo side better- lush gardens, rainforest, beautiful scenery , and closer to Vulcano National Park.
This is just my opinion, there is nothing wrong in general with Kona, and I'm sure it offers a great vacation for the right person.But if I travel half way around teh world, I's chose a different place in Hawaii.- I hope I did not offend anybody!


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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 11:36 AM
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Actually, I have thought about this a bit more- and the word I was looking for is not touristy ( there are plenty of tourists in Hilo as well), but
'resort-y'- Kona has more of a resort feeling, which is not what we are looking for in a vacation.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 03:26 PM
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Well put, Fraukie, understand your point clearly, thaks.
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Old Nov 16th, 2005, 09:53 AM
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Can you see the manta rays well by snorkeling instead of diving? Is there a beach from which you can do it on your own w/o joining a tour?

I assume the manta rays are harmless?

Also, has anyone encountered stingrays on the beach of Big Island. I was stung by a stingray this summer in CA, and it was an excruciating experience.

Thanks!
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Old Nov 16th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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We have not encountered any stingrays on the Big Isle, though they are listed here: www.aloha.com/~lifeguards/critters.html

Urchins on the other hand, are everywhere
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Old Nov 16th, 2005, 04:59 PM
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Thanks, JohnD, for the useful link to dangerous marine animals in Hawaii.

For the barracuda, it says don't wear shiny objects as that will attract them. I just bought an underwater camera that maybe shiny (still waiting for it to come). Wonder how common it is to be attacked the barracuda in Big Island? Anyone has had such an experience?

Any dangers w/ swimming/snorkeling w/ the manta rays at night? Safe to do it on our own w/o a tour?

Where are the manta rays in BI, somewhere close to the shore? I heard of the Sheraton and Mauna Kea resort. Can I just go to those hotels and swim w/ the manta rays, even as non-guests?
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Old Nov 17th, 2005, 03:55 AM
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Following the advice from the link below we ~gt;~gt;have not swum in the ocean at night and are out of the water before dusk:
www.aloha.com/~lifeguards/shartips.html
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 05:07 PM
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Can beginner, non-certified divers go on the manta ray night dive?

Which company would offer such a trip for novice?

Thanks
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Old Nov 23rd, 2005, 05:35 AM
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Many groups allow snorkelers to go on this trip as well. We went with Jack's Diving Locker. Their arrangemment (back in Oct 2004) was to head out in the late afternoon and anchor at a location off of the airport. There is a late afternoon dive and snorkel - you'll see a fair amount of fish and maybe some mantas. Then you head back to boat for sandwiches/snacks. At night fall its back in the water. As described above, the divers get on the bottom and shine lights, which attracts plankton, which brings the mantas to feed. Because of this, it's not really a trip you can just do on your own.

It's a pretty amazing sight even as a snorkeler - the mantas glide through the light and it seems almost surreal. If you are a novice snorkeler, I recommend doing some off shore daytime snorkeling to get comfortable in the water. As I recall, Jack's guides were helpful - but didn't really "coddle" the snorkelers - ie once you got in the water you were pretty much on you own - not a lot of "hand holding". My trip was really wonderful - saw about 8-10 mantas. I'd defintely recommend it.

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