Checking Out The Manta Rays

Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii is a Kona highlight experience!

Manta Ray Floats By
Manta Rays. A Top Kailua-Kona Attraction!

As a driver, people ask me all the time about fun activities to do on the Kona-Kohala coast. “How are the manta dives?” is a common question.   “I’ve heard it’s a fun activity.”, is all I could say.  I did not have a firsthand experience to share.  Well…  that has recently changed, as I had the privilege of going out on a night snorkel with Manta Ray Dives Hawaii!  It was an AMAZING experience!

Honokohau Harbor is the jump-off spot. That is where we board the boat and meet the lively crew members.  After a quick round of introductions, which included reciting a line from one of your favorite movies, crew and participants, we were off!

Boat Sets Out For Manta Ray Dive Site
Boat Sets Out For Manta Ray Dive Site.

The boat traveled North for, what seemed like, 15 minutes. Once we arrived at the dive site, there was still a need for the sun to go down before we could begin the activity.  The time was not wasted, as the crew used this opportunity give us a safety briefing and a quick education on; plankton, manta rays in general, as well as the manta rays of the area.  These graceful animals are protected by the State.  Each of them has been identified, named, and recorded.

About 20 minutes have passed since we dropped anchor.  The sun was setting.  Time to suit up and enter the water!  The scuba divers entered first, and us snorkelers followed.   Five or six to a group.  What looked like, a modified surfboard with PVC tubing attached around, as handles, was our magnificent manta viewer apparatus (Not sure what they called this device, so I’ll rock with my name for it. Lol).  At the center of the board was a bright light shining down into the water.  The group gathered around the boards by gripping the PVC piping.  With the light flashing down, plankton was drawn to it.  Plenty of fish gathered around to eat the plankton, but they all moved out of the way when the mantas arrived.
Almost immediately, from the depths of the ocean darkness, a large manta ray appeared!

Manta Ray Night Dive
D The Driver On Deck!

Gliding towards us with a smooth confidence, was a creature with a six-foot wingspan. Wooooo!  I was in awe!   One after the other, they continued to appear.  I know they came to feed, but it felt like they were performing for us.  Doing graceful flips. ascending and descending in slow motion. Some cool $#!^!


When you come to Kona and you want to have an awesome “EcoAdventure”, be sure to hit up Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii!  Oh yeah….  I can drive you there!

For more information, visit their site:

“Was that a Mongoose?”

“Did you see that squirrel?” Said the young lady from the back seat of my van.  She was referring to the mongoose that just darted across the road as we exited The Fairmont Orchid Hotel.  “Oh… that was a mongoose.”, I replied with a smile.  With a look of doubt, “Are you sure?” she asked.  Lol.

A few days prior, I was early for a pickup at the Sheraton Kona, so I pulled into the Keauhou bay lookout on Kamehameha III Road.  There was a group of tourist at the wall taking photos. Just beyond the stone wall, there was a mongoose that emerged from the shrubs.  The older gentleman said, “what is that creature, in the bushes?” I answered, “It’s a mongoose”.   This piqued the younger ones’ interest enough that they looked away from their smartphones.  “A mongoose?” The older man asked.  “Don’t they eat snakes?  I thought Hawaii didn’t have any snakes.” “You are correct.  There are no snakes for the mongoose to eat. They’re opportunistic feeders- Eating anything from scraps at picnic areas, to insects and crabs.  What’s been most troublesome has been their role in the extinction and endangerment of some of Hawaii’s tropical birds by eating their eggs and chicks. “  The group seemed to be surprised by this information.  So, I thought it would be helpful to pass along some info on one of Hawaii’s most notorious invasive species (humans notwithstanding ).

Mongoose in Hawaii
The Mongoose was brought to Hawai’i in 1883

The mongooses (Herpestes javanicus) found in Hawai’i are from South and Southeast  Asia.  These rascals were introduced to Hawai’i Island in 1883 by the sugar industry to control rats in sugarcane fields on Maui, Moloka’i, and O’ahu.  This has proven to be one (of many) ecological faux pas. The mongoose is diurnal while the rat is nocturnal.  Which means they miss each other, for the most part.   As a child, I thought Rikki Tikki Tavi was cool, but he was in India, not Hawaii.