I’m going to give you a BIG tip for when you visit Big Island, Hawaii.
GO NIGHT DIVING OR SNORKELLING WITH THE MANTA RAYS.
I don’t think I can express it anymore than in caps!
Although initially hearing that it will set you back around $US150 (diving with gear) or $US100 for snorkelling, hands down it is money well spent and one of the best diving experiences I’ve had so far.
There are various diving companies in Kona that will take you out to Manta Village in front of the Sheraton Resort which used to be the Kona Surf Hotel. We went with Kona Honu Divers. Apparently in the 70s, the Hotel started illuminating the pool and surf area which attracted the Manta Rays because they could see the plankton in the water. The Sheraton continues the bright light tradition to this day.
Be prepared for dozens of other boats and hundreds of divers and snorkellers all looking for the amazing Manta Ray.
It’s not guaranteed that you will see them. While talking to our dive guides on the boat before heading under, they told us that they hadn’t been seen for the past three nights which made me very nervous that we wouldn’t see any at all. And for the first half an hour in one spot of our 45 minute dive, we didn’t see any.
It was only after swimming to a different spot that we finally spotted them. For the next 10 minutes we saw them playing in the lights, doing backflips and swimming precariously close to divers’ heads.
If you’re after an amazing close encounter with an awesomely majestic marine animal then look no further.