Friday, December 11, 2015

Manta Ray Night Snorkel in Kona

  Every week I like to push the guests to try something new and to embrace new adventures. Traveling with Un-Cruise here in Hawaii can be filled with these new experiences. It is not uncommon for our guests to be on the more adventurous side already, but one excursion that usually puts people a little more out of their comfort zone is the night snorkel with manta rays.

A Hawaiian Flagtail Fish 
Manta in the Night Lights
  It all starts with a warm up snorkel to make sure everyone who will go out at night has already gotten used to their gear and being in the ocean. Then during dinner we bring in a manta ray expert, usually Ian or Katie from Kona Dive Company, to talk about manta rays and answer questions.
 
  As soon as dinner wraps up we head out on the back deck to get into wetsuits, snorkel gear, and wrist glow-lights. Then we load up into our skiffs and motor a few hundred yards over to the manta snorkel area. From here six or so guest will jump in and surround a special surf board with a huge underwater light attached. I or one of the other guides will pull the board over to the 'campfire' which is an accumulation of lights set up by one of the dive companies hoping to attract plankton, which will in turn attract manta rays.
 
    So far this season the manta rays are getting better and better with more and more showing up each week. It can vary day to day but we have seen rays every time. If we are lucky the rays will slowly drift up to our group and then feed in the light emanating from the surfboard. It can be one of the best wild animal encounters in the world when this happens. Just imagine a 12ft, harmless, majestic manta ray performing a ballet of barrel rolls inches under you. Or maybe 2 manta rays...


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