If you have, how was it?
If you have, how was it?
This is a very cool experience. We went with Jack's Diving Locker out of Kona. Left Jack's about 3:30, were driven north to the small boat harbor, got right on the boat and went north up the coast for about 1/2 hour to Garden Eel Cove. (Saw/raced a pod of dolphins on the way up). We had about an hour to snorkel/dive, got back in the boat for a light dinner, and watched the sun go down. All of a sudden one of the guides (Kellar Laros, founder of the Manta Ray Research Foundation and an excellent guide) said "The mantas are here!" and everyone got into the water. It gets very dark out there (of course---no buildings or unnatural light sources--just the light shining up from the ocean floor and the lights on the three or four boats that are anchored out there) and so that added to the intrigue. We saw four mantas (we were part of the snorkeling group) and it was incredible. They stayed the whole time we were out--a little over an hour--and just swooped and swam and rolled over and over--an underwater ballet by huge marine creatures we had never seen before. Got backs to the Locker about 9:30. We would highly recommend Jack's, and would suggest you try and get on a trip that Kellar is guiding (there were four guides--one for each 4 or 5 people, and us snorkelers had our own.) Kellar knows so much about the mantas--the four that showed up for us were all familiar to him, had been named, and he told us some of their histories on the trip back in the van. It really made our trip to Hawaii memorable! We also bought the DVD they offered--Kellar filmed it during the trip and it is totally worth every penny. (You should consider getting some motion-sickness medicine--Bonine, or something like that--before you go. Jack's sells it--very expensive there--but we were glad we had some along, as my husband got quite queasy. You are in 30' deep water the whole time, and the cove was quite calm at the time we were anchored, but the boat still pitches and rolls quite a bit.) It also gets pretty cool when the sun goes down, so a wetsuit would be preferable. Jack's can provide those if you don't have your own. We wore our own rash guard stuff, but it was a little too thin to keep us comfortable. Jack's provided a snorkel mask for my husband--he was having trouble the whole trip getting masks to fit because of his moustache--and it was excellent. They really took care of every detail for us, and it was all so much better than we'd expected. (We did reserve a spot on the boat before we went over, but you could wait and see if your trip is more flexible than ours was).
Thanks for your reply. We only have 3 days on the BI. I wanted to see VNP and snorkel Captain Cook and then this trip. What time of year did you go? We will be there in April and wonder if they run these trips then?
We went over Christmas. I think they do the manta ray trips year round, but you could call and ask them. The staff is very helpful, and they answered lots of questions I had over the phone before we ever booked anything.
In Feb. of 2004, my husband did a night manta ray dive with Neptune Charlies, on the Big Island. He has not stopped talking about it yet!! He also has the DVD. He was in awe of the wonderful operation of Neptune Charlies.
This is a year round event......
April expect water in the low 70's
Bring your wet suit...you will need it.
Just got back from the Big Island yesterday, and did the Manta snorkel with Kona Honu divers. It was awesome!!! A must do--it's unbelievable. We had 5 Mantas swiming, swooping and dancing all around us. They provided the wet suits, which I was glad to have, even in the summer. The divers sit on the ocean floor shining lights upwards, while the snorkelers float on top, shing lights downwards to create a well lit dining area for the Mantas. There really aren't words to desbribe! You must do it!
Do you only see the manta rays or are there other fish and sealife that is around? Mahalo
The outfit I went out on took us out early enough to do some snorkeling in the daylight first, and we saw other kinds of fish then. Then we came back to the boat for a snack and some briefing on the Mantas, and then during the night snorkel, it was mainly the Mantas. Did see some silvery fish hanging around too, but that's about it. Of course, when the Mantas are all around you, you don't look for anything else!
We did the snorkel trip, although most on our boat were divers. The divers saw lots of cool ocean life during the daytime--octopus, shrimp, eels, many varieties of fish, etc., etc. The water near the cove is about 30 feet deep, and lots of the fish did not come near the surface, so snorkeling wasn't as exciting there as it is in shallower waters where the fish are close by. However, the mantas are so incredible (and it IS hard to describe what it is like to be near them) that we didn't care about anything but seeing them. We had four mantas the night we went out, and there were also several kinds of silver colored fish--a large mass that almost looked like a tube of them from ocean floor up to the surface (I think they were eating the plankton which is attracted by the lights). We really didn't pay much attention to anything but the mantas, but did buy the DVD and that showed some of the eels that visited the divers at night, and all the different fish near the ocean floor.