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If you only have time for one snorkel trip while visiting the Big Island this is the one to choose. Swimming with the manta rays is often considered one of the most memorable experiences to be had on the Big Island. Cruise to the mouth of Keauhou Bay, a spot known for having the highest concentration of manta rays in the Hawaiian Islands, where you will spend about 45 minutes in the water with these magnificent creatures. Watch them glide through the water turning and doing somersaults in the beams of light as they feed on plankton.
About the Manta Rays
The coastal Manta Ray is among the largest of the ray family and one of the largest fishes in the world. On average their wingspan is 8 ft across but can be as large as 12 ft across. Unlike most other ray species, they do not have any sort of barb or stinger on their tail making them completely harmless. They are a docile animal, very curious by nature and are known to come in close to divers. They are filter feeders, feeding on plankton. They use their giant funnel shaped mouths to scoop plankton as they swoop about the reef. Watching them swim somersaults or barrel rolls is a magnificent sight to see. Having one barrel roll inches from you is the ultimate experience.
How It Works
Once you are in the water, you will be holding onto a floating board outfitted with underwater lights. These lights will draw in the schools of plankton, which is the food source of the manta ray. You float at the surface and simply just watch as the mantas come in to feed on the plankton. Very little snorkeling effort is required. If you like, you will be provided with a pool noodle to help you with keeping your legs floating at the surface as to not disrupt the mantas feeding behavior. For all manta tours, free snorkeling is not permitted as it will disrupt the feeding behaviors of the mantas and possibly scare them from the dive site for the evening.