The Giant Pacific Manta Ray

Mar 09, 2017

Dai Mar Tamarack, Expedition Leader, Safari Explorer

It’s sunset in Kona and the passengers aboard the Safari Explorer are jittery with excitement.

Passengers Excited to Snorkel

Tonight is the famous manta ray night snorkel and they just listened to our guest speaker tell them all about these gentle creatures and how we are going to see them up close.

We split into four groups, complete with a surfboard to hang onto with underwater lights affixed to it. Then we enter the ocean, grab onto the board and head to the “campfire,” which is a bunch of underwater lights at the bottom facing upwards to attract plankton, which in turn attract manta rays.

We don’t even have everyone in my group in the water before we get our first manta ray sighting.

It rises up from the dark, suddenly illuminated by our light and feeding inches below our board. After a few passes it moves on to the next group and we make our way over to the campfire where more mantas are already feeding.

Feeding Manta Ray

Manta Feeding by the Campfire

The guests forget all about being nervous as soon as we have our first encounter. Snorkeling in the ocean at night might seem a little daunting at first but after a successful manta snorkel, the nervousness disappears and the group becomes closer because of it.

This is just one of the many bonding moments we experience during our week in Hawaii.




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