A huge draw for us to stay in Hawai’i has been the adventurous ocean activities. One thing in particular that Ben wanted to do was a manta ray night dive. We didn’t make a reservation, but that sort of technicality can’t stop Ben! At 7:30 p.m. he grabbed his fins and mask and made his way to the bay, asking around until he found a boat with an open slot.
I love that guy.
Ben joined around 10 other people for his manta ray night dive in Hawaii. They sailed at idle speed 5 mins away from shore, donned provided shortie wetsuits, then eased into chilly water. Floating on their bellies with a hand on a rectangle frame at the back of the boat, attached boat lights streamed into the water.
As the light penetrated the dark waters it attracted plankton. Fish were attracted to the plankton, manta rays were attracted to the fish, and so continues the cycle of life.
Have you seen the movie Moana? Do you remember the scene where Moana sees the spirit of her grandmother in the form of a manta ray swim past her at night? That’s what this was like.
Manta rays are technically in the shark family. Their bodies are made from cartilage which allows them the flexibility to move in such graceful patterns. Because of their lack of body fat and muscle, manta rays have no natural predators and are widely populated in warm waters. Around 250 have become well-known and documented on the island of Hawai’i, in fact, because they tend to stay near the coast. You can even ask about which particular rays you happen to see at night!
Unlike their cousin the sting ray, manta rays have no stinger and no teeth. They are HUGE, however, with a 6-foot wingspan.
As one manta ray continued to circle Ben he had to remind himself that they are harmless to humans. I don’t care that they have no teeth; when you see that gaping mouth come toward you it makes your heart skip a beat!
Three manta rays were actively eating around Ben’s boat. They would gravitate toward one particularly yummy spot, so the divers rotated positions on the frame every few minutes to all have an opportunity to see the massive creatures up close. One manta ray seemed particularly taken with Ben (and who could blame her?) and tried to repetitively chest bump him as she cycled around gulping down fish. If you watch the video you can hear his manly screams of delight!
After 45 minutes in the water you become pretty chilled. Luckily the boat is stocked with chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate, since you want to refresh with some manly snacks after staring into the mouth of an underwater giant.
Overall Ben feels it’s not necessarily worth the money, but he’s thrilled he did it. The dive cost $118 and lasted around 2 hours total, with 45 minutes in the water. Many different boating companies offer this tour, so some quick research on a manta ray night dive in Hawaii will yield plenty of results.
Or if you’re more of a spontaneous type you can just show up at Kailua Bay and beg onto someone else’s tour.
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