Swim with a Manta Ray

Big IslandEssential Big Island

They may look fearsome, but MANTA RAYS, known in Hawaiian as hāhālua, 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 TRIPS, 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 from shore is from the lanai of 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 Keāhole- Kona International Airport to Keauhou Bay. Divers are instructed to stay near the bottom, while snorkelers are advised to remain on the surface to allow the manta rays room to maneuver.

Take an evening sunset snorkel to search out mantas with DOLPHIN DISCOVERIES . The Manta Ray Snorkel tour departs from Keauhou Bay and features custom-made lighted surfb oards. These boards attract the plankton that the mantas feed on, allowing for a view of these beautiful sea creatures. DOLPHIN DISCOVERIES 808-322-8000

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