Manta Ray Night Snorkel
The next stop for the Hawaii Tours Traveling Trio was Manta Ray Night Snorkeling with Sea Paradise in Kona. I was a bit intimidated to get in the water with these large creatures. The average Manta Ray wing span is 5-8 feet but can reach over 14 feet! I was told not to worry because Manta Rays are very friendly. They do not have real teeth or a stinger and their only defense is to flee. These gentle Rays feed on microscopic plankton. Manta Rays are found in most oceans but their regular sightings to feed in Kona at night is a unique experience that we had to see for ourselves!
We checked in at the Sea Paradise office at the Keauhou Shopping Center and got fitted for our wetsuits. Next we drove to Keauhou Bay and climbed onboard the Hokuhele. We got to know some other passengers as we waited for everyone to arrive. The catamaran took us to “Manta Village” near the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort. This is the same location where the Manta Ray Night Dive began over 25 years ago. The Sea Paradise crew was very friendly and provided interesting information about Manta Rays as we made our way to the Kona snorkeling location.
We got into the water and held onto a rail that kept our group together. Each person had 2 noodles that kept them floating on top of the water. The divers placed lights underwater to attract the plankton.
Manta Rays can eat up to 310 pounds of plankton daily. They achieve this by performing backflips with their mouths gaping. These looping creatures are a sight to see! Be sure to check out this video of the majestic Manta Rays on the Big Island!
The Manta Ray’s gills operate as a filtration system. Water goes into their mouth and is pumped out through the gill slits while the plankton is siphoned to the stomach.
After watching the Big Island Manta Rays we climbed back into the boat for some snacks and hot chocolate! Be sure to bring a sweatshirt and towel because it was quite chilly when we got back on the boat!