Kona Manta Rays

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Posted by Raz on March 18, 2004 at 16:09:19:

In Reply to: Kona Recommendations posted by Deckman on March 14, 2004 at 22:05:09:

The manta ray night dive is a MUST-DIVE. Rated as one of top 10 dives in the world in Rodale's. Here are three accounts of the same dive, by three different San Diego divers who were coincidentally on 3 different dive boats at the same location, same time. The boats do two dives, one late afternoon, deeper, at edge of coral reef which is BEAUTIFUL there. 2nd dive is night dive with the mantas, a totally different experience. Lots of divers, but it is really amazing. Reports below. I haven't heard anything bad about any of the operators going there. I was with Kona Honu and they were great.

This is hilarious. I was diving at EXACTLY the same site on the same night as Bob's Kona manta ray dive, only I was with a different group, Kona Honu Divers. I highly recommend them as well. Our guide, John, was awesome (if anyone goes there, this is blond, Californian John -- there are two, and of course I have forgotten the last names). There were three groups there, from Jack's Diving Locker, Kona Honu Divers, and Big Island Divers.

I highly recommend this dive -- and it's also great if you have snorkelers with you because the area is shallow enough for good snorkeling and the manta ray show from above is excellent because they circle up and down through the whole water column while feeding.

We did one late afternoon and one evening dive:

Dive #1 Garden Eel Cove & adjacent reef. Max depth 65'; Time 1:00.

My first tropical dive and the water color and numbers of fish and other critters were just amazing. Also saw the frogfish that Bob mentioned
as well as numerous morays & a few nudibranchs, plus the Hawaiian Garden Eels. Also an Eagle Ray. Sorry for the lack of species details -- I'm
still trying to figure out what everything was!

Dive #2 Garden Eel Cove -- Night Manta Ray Dive Depth 35', Time 0:45.
Met by a 10' manta ray at the boat as we were entering the water. We had to be careful not to jump on top of him. This was one of the most
amazing sights I've ever seen. These guys are massive and come at you with their 2-3' wide mouths gaping open, then glide right across your
head. They are unbelievably graceful. It is also just a surreal experience sitting on the bottom with several groups of divers as all this is going on.

After watching the rays for 35 minutes or so, our guide took us along the reef again where there were several species of morays, a 12" (body) octupus, two strange crabs, and lots of other reef critters.

Bob's right, that 82 degree water did get chilly ;-)

2. another San Diego diver who was there at exactly the same time:

Too funny.

I was also diving the Mantas the same night at the same location, but I was with Big Island Divers. Also highly reccomended. There were only 3 boats there that night. So I am not sure which of the ones you mentioned was actually Big Island Divers.

That is impresive, 3 different San Dieagans, all in Hawaii, all diving the same dive but with 3 different dive boats.

We also did a late afternoon/evening dive, followed by the night dive with the Mantas.

Absolutlely beautiful. Don't miss this dive when on the Big Island. And since you now have 3 choices of Dive operators there are no excuses.

3. and another...

Wed 10-1 night dive #1
dive site- garden eels
on the way out we picked up a floating net and found an adult and very young Sargasm (spelling) Frogfish. trimmed some net and relocated them setting them free. garden eels, lepard eel, morays, lots of fish. Nice coral deeper.

Got in the water @ 5:18pm. Great dive, swam up to an area loaded with garden eels, what a site it was. 75ft max for a max bottom time of 58min. It was once again 83 deg

Wed 10-1 night dive #2
dive site- garden eels
MANTAS (BIRTHA, SUGAR, COUSTEAU, VICKY, CURLY), octopus, eels, lots of fish

I was grouped with the second group and was suited up and in the water right after the last of the 1st group got in. David, he headed the first group, asked if I wanted to drop with them and could meet my group on the bottom. Of course I couldnt pass up a little extra bottom time :) The Mantas were already there before we hit the water, they are incredible! We dropped down and sat on the bottom as (5) of them danced, swam thru, over and around us all. Once again, IT WAS AWESOME but the best was yet to come. After a while we decided to go look around and headed back toward the boat. At the end of the dive there were 4 or five of us left under the boat and one of the Mantas came back and stayed until we surfaced. She seemed to have a thing for me because I was getting bumped, pushed and rubbed against. Everytime I turned around, she was there, IT WAS AWESOME! This is one dive I WILL do again. 35ft max for a bottom time of 68min. burr, getting colder at a terrible 82 deg lol.... sorry folks ;)

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