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Night snorkeling with Manta Rays in Kona, Hawaii is an absolutely amazing experience that you won't forget for a long time! Kona is one of the few places in the world where you can easily see these majestic creatures up close and personal.
First of all, let me tell you that Manta Rays are completely harmless and are actually quite curious and friendly towards humans. They feed on plankton, so they are not interested in humans as prey. This means that you can swim with them without any fear of being attacked or harmed in any way.
The best time to go night snorkeling with Manta Rays in Kona is during the summer months from May to October when the water is calmer and clearer. You will need to book a tour with a reputable company that specializes in Manta Ray snorkeling trips. Most of the tours start around sunset, so you can enjoy the beautiful sunset and then snorkel with the Mantas as soon as it gets dark.
The tour guides will give you a short briefing on the behavior of Manta Rays and how to behave while snorkeling with them. They will also provide you with all the necessary snorkeling gear, including wetsuits, snorkels, fins, and floatation devices.
Once you get into the water, you will hold onto a floating board with lights attached to it. The lights attract the plankton, which in turn attracts the Manta Rays. The Mantas will swim around you and the board, sometimes coming within inches of your face! It's an incredible feeling to be so close to these gentle giants of the sea.
If you'd like to dive more on the best places to snorkel in Hawaii, check out our 10 Best Snorkeling Places In Hawaii.
Video Source: Dive In Adventure
Many people are hesitant about night snorkeling, but it can actually be one of the most amazing experiences you'll ever have. As one diver notes, "the underwater environment is not pitch black, so you can always see shapes in the water." Moreover, "the dive boat hangs strobes over each side, creating a sci-fi spaceship-like atmosphere that will make you feel like you're in a different world."
The Manta Rays themselves are truly awe-inspiring creatures with an impressive "wingspan of around 17 feet. As you snorkel, they will glide so close to you that you can feel the breeze they create as they pass just above your head. It's an experience that will leave you feeling breathless and amazed".
Additionally, night snorkeling with Manta Rays in Kona often includes the chance to witness bioluminescence, which is when certain marine organisms emit light. This can happen when a divemaster fans a barrel coral with his fin, creating a beautiful and magical display of light.
While the experience is undoubtedly incredible, it's important to remember to follow the rules when snorkeling with Manta Rays. These include keeping a safe distance, not touching the Manta Rays, and avoiding the use of flash photography.
To access the departure point for night snorkeling with Manta Rays in Kona, you'll need to make your way to the Honokohau Marina, which is located just a few miles north of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The marina is easy to find and there is plenty of parking available.
Once you arrive at the marina, you'll need to check in with your tour operator. They will provide you with all the necessary information and equipment for the tour, including wetsuits, snorkels, fins, and floatation devices. The tour operators are typically located in a booth or office near the harbor.
From there, you'll take a short boat ride out to the Manta Ray snorkeling site. The ride is usually about 20-30 minutes, depending on the conditions of the water.
The Manta Rays that can be seen during night snorkeling tours in Kona are most likely the Hawaiian Manta Ray, also known as the Pacific Manta Ray (Manta alfredi). These Manta Rays are known to inhabit the waters around the Hawaiian Islands, as well as other parts of the Pacific Ocean.
The Hawaiian Manta Ray is one of the largest species of rays in the world, with a wingspan of up to 18 feet. They are known for their distinctive appearance, with their wide, flat bodies and long, pointed fins. Despite their size, these gentle giants of the sea are harmless to humans, as they feed primarily on plankton.
It's worth noting that there is another species of Manta Ray, known as the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray (Manta birostris), which can also be found in the waters around Hawaii. However, they are less commonly sighted during night snorkeling tours in Kona.