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Swimming with Manta Rays
Manta Ray Night Snorkeling Kona

Have a magical experience
snorkeling with Manta Rays at night in Kona Hawaii!

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Manta Magic is a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list experience. green listed manta ray activity provider verified Hawaii Oceanic

We are proud to be a Green Listed Activity Provider, verified by the Manta Ray Advocates of Hawaii.

Check in for Manta Magic is at 4:30pm at our office (unless otherwise noted, due to seasonal changes).*

You will meet the crew of Hawaii Oceanic's, the Pueo Kai or of our Coast Guard certified, the Pueo Kai 2 at our office; then leave the harbor in time to enjoy a beautiful, tropical sunset as you are arriving at the manta ray night snorkeling site.

Maybe Catch a Green Flash at Sunset?

On a clear evening you might even be lucky enough to catch a green flash at sunset, an atmospheric phenomenon in which the sun flashes a small neon green glow as it dips below the horizon.  Truly a unique sight to see!

Hawaii is said to be amongst the best locales for seeing the green flash.  The green flash, if it is seen ....is only visible for a moment.  How best to catch that elusive green flash at sunset?  Being in a boat on the water is said to be the best place to be in order to see the green flash at sunset. 

Manta Rays - Gentle Giants

Manta rays (Manta alfredi) are large, cartilaginous fish found in the same class as sharks, skates and other rays (Chondrichthyes). 

Manta Rays are distributed throughout the tropical Pacific but our Hawaiian Manta rays tend to be non-migratory and are found in individual populations along shallow reef coastlines. 

Our Kona coast Manta ray population has been regularly observed by the scientific community for several decades, and for several centuries by the ancient Hawaiians. 

Despite being related to some fierce predatory fish and dangerous sting rays, Manta rays are gentle giants with no teeth or barbs on their tails. Manta rays do not have a single bone in their body! 

Because Manta rays are mostly cartilage and muscle, Manta rays are very heavy, strong animals.  Manta rays grow quite large, ranging from 6 feet across and 600 pounds (~ 1.5 meters and ~ 272 kilos) all the way up to 16 feet and 1600 pounds (~ 5 meters and ~726 kilos).

Female Manta rays are much larger than the male Manta ray. Female Manta rays give birth to a very large baby; a baby newborn Manta ray has about a 4-foot wingspan.

Although Mantas are one of the largest fish in the ocean, Manta rays are filter feeders who dine on one of the smallest things in the ocean, plankton. 

Plankton Facts

Plankton (Greek for "drifter") is a mixture of very small plants and animals that drift with the ocean currents. 

The plankton that live nearest to the surface of the ocean are called Phytoplankton. Phytoplankton use the sunlight in combination with the nutrients in the water to photosynthesize their own food.

The phytoplankton gather together in large numbers at the sea surface during the day and are believed to be the source of at least half of the world's oxygen.snorkeling_with_manta_rays_HawaiiOceanic_charter_boat

These large numbers of phytoplankton at the sea surface creates a plankton soup from which the Manta rays can feed upon during the day, with Manta rays graze along the sea surface to filter out hundreds of pounds of plankton per day. 

Best time to see Manta Rays is at Night

But why do we snorkel with Manta Rays at night? 

The Kona Manta ray population has adapted their very own special feeding behavior that sets the Kona Manta ray apart from Manta rays found around the world. 

This feeding behavior started in the late 1970's when a Kona Hawaiian hotel used powerful flood lights to illuminate the surf zone of their sea-side restaurant.

Those lights, left on every night, attract large amounts of plankton.  The scattered plankton swarmed the lights by the restaurant, trying to photosynthesize. 

One fateful night in 1979, a lone Manta ray followed a current line to find the accumulated plankton by the hotel.  The lucky Manta ray found a feast of plankton corralled in one spot which provided a quick and easy meal.  Thus, the Manta ray night encounter was started. 

For over 30 years now, Manta rays have learned that light at night means food at night and are seen on a regular basis at two different sites here in Kona Hawaii almost every night of the year. 

Because of the unpredictable nature of the ocean currents, we cannot guarantee which site we will take you to with our boat.  We will bring you to whichever site has had the most Manta ray success around the time of your charter boat tour. 

Once we arrive at the chosen Manta ray site, you will have enjoyed a spectacular sunset and your swim guide will tell you more about the Manta ray snorkel experience. 

A light board is set up in the water for you to hang on to while snorkeling.

snorkeling_with_manta_rays_hawaiioceanic_charter_boatThe light board in the water attracts the plankton, which in turn attract the Manta rays. 

And, then... the magical experience begins. 

The Manta rays have learned that the light boards in the water mean food, and the Manta rays will swoop within inches of your face as you lay flat at
the sea surface. 

We call this behavior the "barrel roll"
night_swimming_with_manta_rays_kona_hawaii_hawaiioceanic_tour_boatwhen a Manta ray does a lazy cart-
wheel just below the light board.

You will enjoy the Manta ray ballet in the water below you for up to an hour as the Manta rays enjoy their plankton buffet.

After your Manta Magic experience, the Pueo Kai will head back to harbor under the light of the stars and the moon.  Be sure to gaze upward, as you may glimpse the Milky Way on a clear night.  

Be sure to bring towels and a dry change of clothes or sweater because it might be a chilly ride back to the harbor. 

You will arrive back at the harbor between 8 and 8:30pm. 

This adventure should definitely be in your Top 10 list of lifetime activities - it's that incredible! 

Your friends and family back home won't believe just how close these gentle giants get, so be sure to show them the awesome photos taken by the crew. 

Late Night Manta Magic Tour

On select nights we also offer a Late Night Manta Magic tour. The Late Night Manta Magic tour encounters fewer boats at the Manta Ray site, so it is less crowded.

Check in is at 8:00pm at our office for the Late Night Manta Magic Tour. The late night Manta Magic tour is usually finished by 10:00pm.  Please be aware that we have a six passenger minimum for the Late Night Manta Magic Tour.**

All Snorkel Gear is Provided

All snorkel gear is provided, (fins, mask, snorkel, wetsuits), as well as snacks, beverages, and complimentary photos of your trip.

Click here to automatically map directions to Hawaii Oceanic using Google maps on your mobile device.

All tours have a 4 person minimum to run. 

36 hour cancellation period

3 years old and up

*Small groups can experience Manta Magic. $105.00 + tax per person.

**Late Night Manta Magic has a six (6) passenger minimum for the tour to run so your Late Night Manta Magic tour is not confirmed until we have six people booked.  If six people are not booked you will get moved to another night or receive a full refund.  Check availability on our Manta Magic check-out page or give us a call! (808) 32MANTA or 808-326-2682.

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