Swim with a Manta RayBig Island
They may look fearsome, but MANTA RAYS, known in Hawaiian as hahalua, are really quite tame.
Though related to sharks, these amazing sea creatures have no teeth and no tail stingers, making them harmless to humans but no less intriguing to watch.
Noted for its resident manta ray population, the KONA COAST is one of the best places in the world to get close to them. Many local diving and snorkeling companies conduct NIGHTTIME MANTA RAY RUNS, or you can hope to catch a peek from the shore. The water off the SHERATON KEAUHOU BAY RESORT & SPA is a regular feeding spot for manta rays, and a good place to see them on-shore is from the lanai off the resort’s RAYS ON THE BAY restaurant. The resort will turn on its outdoor lights when the manta rays appear.
Dive shop owners say manta rays can be found most days from as far north as waters off the Keahole-Kona International Airport to Keauhou Bay. Divers are instructed to stay near the bottom and snorkelers on the surface to allow the manta rays room to maneuver.
• ADVENTURES IN PARADISE (808) 447-0080
• ALOHA KAYAK COMPANY (808) 322-2868
• FAIR WIND CRUISES (808) 322-2788 OR (800) 677-9461
• KAMANU CHARTERS (808) 329-2021
• MANTA RAY DIVES OF HAWAII (808) 325-1687
• ROCKING H ISLAND ADVENTURES (808) 334-9999
• SEA PARADISE (808) 322-2500 OR (800) 322-5662
• SPLASHER’S OCEAN ADVENTURES (808) 326-4774
• SUNLIGHT ON WATER (808) 896-2480