Garden Eel Cove / Manta Heaven

Garden Eel Cove / Manta Heaven

Garden Eel Cove / Manta Heaven
4.5
What people are saying
Manta Ray Scams
2.0 of 5 bubblesJan 2020
My family and I went out with this company in June of 2019 for the Night Manta Snorkel at Garden Eel Cove (aka Manta Heaven). We saw zero mantas, the seas were rough, and a lot of people got seasick on the way back. My whole family had taken dramamine but we were still queasy. Six months later in January 2020 we were back on the Big Island, so we took advantage of Big Island Divers guarantee, which lets you go again for half price if you got skunked the first time. Once again, we saw zero mantas, the seas were rough, and my wife threw up despite having taken two dramamine. Here's the thing. All the operators claim they see mantas 90% of the time. That means the odds of being skunked twice are 1 in a 100. Pretty low. Are we the unluckiest family in the world? Not exactly. I looked at the actual sighting numbers for the whole of 2019, (courtesy of the data on the website for Jacks Diving Locker, a competitor) and discovered that the odds of seeing even one manta were about 77%. That means 1 in 4 trips, you will see nothing. Furthermore, only half the time would you see more than 3 manta rays. None of the operators honestly tell you the real odds. If you are considering doing this, I strongly recommend checking the recent sighting counts on the website, because the numbers go up and down in cycles, perhaps having to do with plankton density. The guides and divemasters are friendly enough but they're basically kids who have no special knowledge. The boat captain is competent. If you're diving, you have to sit on the bottom and not move, although once they give up on mantas there's a bit of night diving time on the reef. If you're snorkeling, you have to hold on to a surfboard to which they've bolted some handles, and get towed hither and yon as they search for something to see. You will also get kicked in the face by other snorkelers from the dozens of companies that show up. It's magical.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles7 reviews
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former_RX
California180 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
By day it's called Garden Eel Cove, and by night it's called Manta Heaven. This dive site is under 30 min by boat from Honokohau Marina in Kailua-Kona, HI. It's at Keahole Point, off Kona International Airport. On the night of 24 June 2010, I counted six mantas...but was later told there were eight, inlcuding Big Bertha. Feeding time is like a dance, where they glide and swoop and do circles with their mouths open. Up to 10 boats were there, so we must've had 50 divers and 30 snorklers. Was also told that the Mantas don't come every night, so we were very fortunate to have experienced this wonderful spectacle. My dive computer logged my start at 7:49pm with 48 minutes total at 32 feet. I wore a full 5mm suit in the 77 degree water. Your divemaster will guide you to the marked spot where you kneel/sit and point your light upwards. You don't need a specialty night dive course to participate, as you really just stay in one spot and enjoy the experience. Some divers had their pictures/video taken by their dive shop. I went with Kona Honu Divers, an experienced/friendly dive shop in Kona. I received a detailed dive briefing, and a history of how the mantas came to feed at this site. You gotta go!
Written 3 July 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sandra_Wayne_Dew
Wilmington, NC95 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017
Words can't describe the excitement and sheer joy of diving with these giant mantas! We have been diving for years and have experienced a lot of diverse dives. This was the best, hands down. 6 giant mantas showed up on our dive. These creatures were amazing to watch. We dove with Jack's Dive Locker and they were fantastic! We would def recommend diving with them.
Written 4 March 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sandager88
Copenhagen, Denmark18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2015 • Couples
My husband and I were stunned, it exceeded our expectations completely! We have been diving around the world with stunning divested; Galapagos, Maldives, Indonesia etc.
to be honest we were afraid that it would be so packed with divers and snorkelers so we wouldn't see much else than finns from another tourist.
We were surprised. It was organised so well. All divers sat on the ground like a cinema in a depth of 10m. Calm and with great space around us. Alle the light pointing upwards made it look like a show when the Mantas came, doing flips in front of us. First there was this one sweet Manta, seemed to enjoy his audience, suddenly there were 9, pretty and huuuuge mantas. It was their game, thank for that. They came very close to us, while we sat still and observed them. I've never experienced something like that, to be in a big harmony with the wilds of nature, WOooooow!!!!!
If you haven't done a nightdive before, this is also a good first experience. It isn't that dark at all, because of the lights all over, and you sit still doing the whole dive. But time flew away, 50 minutes feels like 5! Haven't thought it would be that amazing!!! If you don't love mantas, you definitely will after this dive.
We went with Kona Honu Divers, they were good and I can recommend them, see my review on their Tripadvisor page.
Written 9 September 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joe
2 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
My family and I went out with this company in June of 2019 for the Night Manta Snorkel at Garden Eel Cove (aka Manta Heaven). We saw zero mantas, the seas were rough, and a lot of people got seasick on the way back. My whole family had taken dramamine but we were still queasy.

Six months later in January 2020 we were back on the Big Island, so we took advantage of Big Island Divers guarantee, which lets you go again for half price if you got skunked the first time. Once again, we saw zero mantas, the seas were rough, and my wife threw up despite having taken two dramamine.

Here's the thing. All the operators claim they see mantas 90% of the time. That means the odds of being skunked twice are 1 in a 100. Pretty low. Are we the unluckiest family in the world?

Not exactly. I looked at the actual sighting numbers for the whole of 2019, (courtesy of the data on the website for Jacks Diving Locker, a competitor) and discovered that the odds of seeing even one manta were about 77%. That means 1 in 4 trips, you will see nothing. Furthermore, only half the time would you see more than 3 manta rays.

None of the operators honestly tell you the real odds. If you are considering doing this, I strongly recommend checking the recent sighting counts on the website, because the numbers go up and down in cycles, perhaps having to do with plankton density.

The guides and divemasters are friendly enough but they're basically kids who have no special knowledge. The boat captain is competent. If you're diving, you have to sit on the bottom and not move, although once they give up on mantas there's a bit of night diving time on the reef. If you're snorkeling, you have to hold on to a surfboard to which they've bolted some handles, and get towed hither and yon as they search for something to see. You will also get kicked in the face by other snorkelers from the dozens of companies that show up.

It's magical.
Written 5 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Trekster123
Washington DC, DC46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2014 • Couples
My wife and I did two dives here on 6 June 2014. The late afternoon dive was fantastic and we saw lots of goat fish, garden eels, morays, and tons of other fish. Our divemaster took us down the reef to 82 ft where the sea bottom leveled off to a black sand plateau. We literally saw a garden of garden eels here with a whole school of goat fish combing the black sand. It was awesome. Later in the evening, we went to 35 ft and watched the Mantas eat plankton. Our dive length was a full 50 minutes and we saw seven Manta regulars. In addition, Frank the Undulated Eel made an appearance and swam between my legs, swam under my wife's legs, between a person's BC webbing and their wetsuit, and then coiled himself around the flood lights in the center area. This was our best dive day ever! Thanks to Big Island Divers for making it so special -- they are an excellent outfit.
Written 8 June 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peggy C
Tualatin, OR37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023 • Couples
Captain Ericka and snorkeling guides John and Kaitlyn were fantastic. This is a “must do” excursion while visiting the big island. 🌴
Written 23 February 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael O
Dallas, TX14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2017 • Family
If you have the opportunity, highly suggest booking a Manta Ray dive with Big Island Divers. Probably the most incredible dive I've ever experienced. Great crew.
Written 18 March 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Revenue impacts the experiences featured on this page, learn more.
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GARDEN EEL COVE / MANTA HEAVEN (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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