Manta Village off shore Big Island Kona Kohala Coastline is known worldwide as a rare location where people can encounter manta rays. Visitors from around the world have enormous curiosity and fascination with these creatures. Fair Wind Cruises offers nightly manta ray tours and has a deep appreciation to be fortune to engage daily with manta rays. Weʻd like to answer some of your questions and offer our insights. Hope you have the opportunity to join us on a manta ray snorkel!
Answers to Manta Ray Questions
Do manta rays have barbs?
Manta rays are gentle giants and without any barbs or stingers. Manta rays cannot hurt you; they eat plankton; and do not sting or otherwise interact with snorkelers.
Are manta rays and sting rays the same creature?
Manta rays are not a sting ray, both are unique and different species. Research indicates that manta rays evolved from sting rays between 30 to 40 million years ago and evolved into a species that no longer feeds on the sea floor with a “traditional ray mouth”. The manta ray has a filter feeding system that resembles similar configurations to filter feeding whales or whale sharks.
How many manta rays are in Kona?
Interestingly, manta rays have unique black white patterns that allow them to be individually recognized. All of the manta rays are given a name when they are identified. There are 273 mantas that have been individually named. Try to pick out their different patterns while on the manta ray night snorkel!
How big are manta rays?
There are two species of manta rays in the earth’s ocean. Manta alfredi, Hawaiiʻs manta rays, are born at about 3 feet in length and the smaller of the two species found in Hawaii’s coastal waters. Hawaiiʻs manta rays can reach a width of approximately 12 feet across. Manta birostris can also be seen infrequently in Hawaiian waters and can reach up to 22 feet across.
Why are the manta rays in Kona?
The community places lights in the water which attracts plankton to a popular night snorkel location called Kona Manta Village. Manta rays come to feed on the plankton at night, regularly concentrating the manta rays every evening. This mutual benefit allows for manta ray night snorkel viewing and dinner for the manta rays.
Where to snorkel with manta rays?
Fair Wind Cruises manta ray night snorkel visits Manta Village located at Keauhou Bay. While manta rays are found along the Kona Kohala Coastline, boat access from Keauhou off the Kona Coast is the best manta ray night snorkeling location. The chance of seeing a manta ray is over 90% percent, and if the manta rays take the night off, you can book again for free during your stay.
Where to swim with manta rays?
Swimming with manta rays is not practical, nor is it encouraged. Seeing a Manta Ray during the daytime is quite rare with the best viewing at night. Professional operators follow important safety protocols and provide necessary equipment for the best viewing experience at night.
How can I help manta rays?
Taking a manta ray night snorkel is good way to learn about the special needs of this wonderful creature. The Kona/Kohala manta community have vested interest in the well being of the manta ray. Acoustic measuring devices have been placed along Kona Coast and Kohala Coast to have a better understanding of the movements of the Hawaii Island manta rays.
What can you can do? When in close proximity to manta rays DO NOT touch the manta ray. Touching a manta ray can drive the manta ray away. More importantly your touch removes a protective barrier from the skin and can introduce the manta rays to infection. Learn more about manta rays and spread the word on how to care and treat them while snorkeling with manta rays.
Are manta rays found only in Hawaii?
Manta rays are found in tropical waters such as the Galapagos, Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives as well as Hawaii. Viewing manta rays in these locations are not as convenient as Kona manta night snorkels. Our manta ray night snorkel is a short 10-minute boat ride that allows for maximum time in the water for snorkeling with the manta rays.
The Manta Ray Learning Center in the Sheraton Kona Resort
The Sheraton Kona has a dedicated manta ray learning center. On display is a 15-minute video with manta ray footage shot during manta ray night dives. A presentation is given everyday at 6:00 pm about manta rays. The manta ray learning center has information on feeding, life cycle, and behavioral patterns. After you discover more about manta rays, join us on our manta ray night snorkel near Kona.
Where can you swim with manta rays?
While manta ray night snorkeling in Kona is rated as a number one snorkel tour and a must do, swimming with manta rays is not encouraged. For the health of our mantas we ask:
- Observe Only: Manta Rays have a protective mucus coating on their skin, so touching is strictly prohibited. And of course, do not chase, grab, or try to ride the mantas.
- Snorkeler Position: Snorkelers must stay on the surface and keep legs horizontal while holding onto our custom “Manta Float”. Do not dive down into the water column.
- Lights: Our custom Manta Float has (3) powerful lights shinning down towards the bottom, attracting plankton (Manta food) and creating enjoyable viewing. Participants do not need lights of their own.
- Taking photos or video: When taking underwater photos or video, be considerate of people and mantas. Be patient and let the mantas come to you. Letting go of the Manta Float to dive down and take photos/ video is not allowed.