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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 Sunset Manta Magic is at 6 p.m. at the Keauhou Small Boat Harbor. 

Check in for Moonlit Manta, our second trip, is at 7:15 p.m. with departure at 7:30 p.m. 

You will be greeted by one of our Coast Guard certified crew of Pueo Kai 2 at the boat ramp where you will be fitted with your wetsuit, snorkel gear and fins before boarding Peuo Kai 2. 

"Manta Village" is a short five minute boat ride away.

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. 

As you enjoy a spectacular Kona sunset, your swim guide will provide you with more information about the Manta Ray snorkel experience.  The lightboard is set up in the water with handles that you grip while floating gently, observing the mantas through your mask as they glide through the water feeding on the plankton below. 

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 about 50 minutes as the Manta rays enjoy their plankton buffet.

After your Manta Magic experience, the Pueo Kai 2 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 a jacket or a towel for the short ride back to the harbor.

The sunset cruise will return to the harbor approximately 7:15pm.  The later trip will return around 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. 

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.

Late Night Manta Magic Tour available upon request with a 6 person minimum or by Private Charter. The late night Manta Magic tour is usually finished by 10:00pm.**

All Snorkel Gear is Provided

All snorkel gear is provided, (fins, mask, snorkel, wetsuits), as well as snacks and beverages.

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to Hawaii Oceanic Parking Lot for all tours on your phone or mobile device.

36 hour cancellation period

3 years old and up

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

**All Manta tours have a six person minimum, with the exception of Private Charters.  Should you be booked on a tour that does not meet the minimum requirement, you will have the option of re-booking on another night or offered a full refund.  Check availability on our Manta Magic check-out page or give us a call: (808) 32MANTA or (808) 326-2682.

The mantas grace us with their presence about 92% of all our snorkel adventures. However, at times, due to changes in currents and natural ocean phenomena, they may not be present.  Should that occur, we will extend a lifetime voucher for a return trip on the Pueo Kai 2.

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