One of the most memorable things that we did during our Hawaiian Christmas Vacation was go night snorkeling with manta rays through My Kona Adventures!
None of us had ever done anything like this, and I don’t think any of us had ever been in deep ocean in the dark. This experience had come highly recommended by several blogs and websites, then our Airbnb host and another local recommended it, so we were sure to go.
Read more about where we stayed on The Big Island in my "Where We Stayed near Kona" blog post!
I had reached out to My Kona Adventures before our arrival to The Big Island and asked about their availability and packages. I found a good deal on Groupon and was hoping to use it, but it turned out that they were running a better promotion on site. We ended up saving nearly 50%!
If you plan to book your excursion in advance, be sure to email email@example.com and ask about current deals!
We booked a 7 p.m. slot for Friday night and arrived at the boat ramp in the pitch-black darkness. We all got our snorkels, and I asked for a wetsuit for warmth before we boarded the boat. While we took the five minute ride out to the bay, we strapped on ankle floaties to help keep us near the surface.
Our captain explained that our guide, Taco, would meet us in the water, and we all hopped in. Taco was holding onto a special floating board with bright lights attached to the bottom. The bright, blue lights help attract plankton which is what the manta rays eat 22 hours of the day. He informed us that the rays will come within what he called “licking distance”. He told us that absolutely no touching is allowed and that we needed to protect the animals in their natural habitat.
Once he was done talking, we looked down and, right away, could see the majestic beasts somersaulting by another group. We were amazed. The manta rays can have wingspans up to 20 feet, and Taco said they can weigh as much as two tons!
See exactly what we saw under the water in my YouTube video below!
Not long after we put our faces back in the water, the rays started to come closer to us. They found the lights below us and started to work up toward our raft. Before long, they were right under us, and I mean only feet away. These humongous animals came right up under our board, and like Taco said, they came within inches of us. It was incredible, unbelievable, and unreal.
The feeling of being close to these giants was like no other. We felt like we were observing aliens in a foreign world. All of the sudden, a dolphin swam under us too! It was completely unexpected! Everything about the tour was just absolutely incredible. We could not have asked for a better night in the water.
Like all great things, our touring time had come to an end, and it was time for us to get back on the boat. The hour we had spent in the water went by too fast, but we loved every single second of it. Truth be told, it was the perfect amount of time, because our arms started to get tired, and I started to get cold! It was a good thing that our boat ride was only a few minutes long.
Once on the land again, we couldn’t stop raving about how spectacular that experience had been. My parents, who were nervous at first, even said that it was one of the most fun things they had ever done. We highly recommend checking out My Kona Adventures and taking one of their tours. It was fantastic!
If you would like to see more from this snorkeling adventure and our entire trip to The Big Island, please check out my Hawaiian Islands page to see everything!!
7/15/2022 08:21:48 pm
We are headed to the Big Island in a week and we booked the night swim with Manta Rays as well. Your videos is one of the best I’ve seen- I can’t wait. What did you use to capture the video?
9/14/2022 07:57:54 am
So sorry I am just seeing this! I used a GoPro Hero 8 to film this.
9/13/2022 08:30:24 pm
I really appreciate how you described staring down the manta as if you were witnessing aliens on a strange land. I want to do something during my break from school. After reading your essay, I became quite interested in manta ray snorkeling and will undoubtedly go with my parents.
9/14/2022 07:59:35 am
Thank you so much for your kind words. It is a very surreal experience. I hope you enjoy it as much as me and my family did.
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Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!