Manta Ray Night Dive in Hawaii

Manta Ray Night Dive in Hawaii

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.


Planning a vacation to Hawaii? Try this beginners manta ray night dive! This Hawaii dive gets you up close and person to giant manta rays. Scuba dive Hawaii Best Hawaii Dives Things to do in Hawaii Family Vacation to Hawaii Honeymoon on Hawaii



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  1. Oh my goodness! This is definitely a bucket list item for me, but so far we haven’t done a Ray swim because we aren’t sure the cost will really be worth it either. One of these days though we are definitely diving in! I think I will start with a day dive first though!

    I currently have a travel link up going on and this post would make a great addition. You can add a link to the blue “add your link” button at the bottom of this post if you want to join in on the fun 🙂

    Happy Friday!

  2. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii but did not even realize night swimming with manta rays was an opportunity offered. Now I have even more reason to plan a trip!

  3. That sounds amazing! We were in Hawaii last year and spent a lot of time in Kailua and somehow completely missed seeing this! I’m anxious to get back ASAP so this will definitely be added to the list.

  4. Hawaii is definitely on my travel bucket list. Night diving with manta rays sounds like an incredible experience! And, as a Disney fanatic, I loved your comparison to the scene in Moana. 🙂

  5. My four year old daughter LOVES Moana. Not to mention, we watch it almost every day. Today was one of the days we watch it. She can tell you each line to the point where my husband asked, why are we watching this movie when she can just tell us each line? Lol. So I know exactly what you’re talking about. I remember that scene perfectly. Prior to seeing bthe video I was thinking to myself exactly how The manta Ray would look in person then I saw the video. It’s absolutely beautiful!!! Unfortunately, I can’t swim. Not even float, and I’m from the island ? unfortunately I’ll never experience it. But my husband and kids can swim. We plan to visit Hawaii in the near future. I would love for them to do something amazing like this. You guys are bless to be part of the “water world” like this. Great post. I enjoyed reading it. Had to tweet it ?. Thanks for the read!

  6. This is great! My husband and I went night snorkeling in Belize, I thought it would be so fun (and it was) but it was also slightly terrifying! All the scary dangerous things come out at night… and it can get really dark out there!

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