Kona’s Manta Ray Night Dive and Snorkel, when the conditions are right, is a solid “Ten” – and recognized by almost all dive reviews and rankings as one of the Top Ten Dives in the world. And since it is not limited to scuba divers, anyone who can handle a mask and snorkel can also share it this awesome experience.
There are several tours available, so do your research. A few are listed at the end of this article. When the mantas were first appreciated here in Kona, the location was south of Kailua Town. Manta rays feed on plankton. And the plankton are attracted to lights at night. So originally the lights from some hotels served to attract the mantas. Now the primary location is a little cove just offshore of the airport, where under water lights are set up. And with the boat tours that now come here most every night, there is so much light from all the divers and the boats that the mantas are usually plentiful. But like any natural phenomena, nothing is guaranteed.
The best tours now leave from Honokohau harbor and it is about a half hour boat ride to the small cove where the action happens. Some tours offered now are on very small crowded boats. But for a few extra dollars, are larger boat offers a smoother ride, more room for gear, a head, and some even offer warm fresh water rinse – which will feel like heaven. Wet suits are needed and supplied, as the night time conditions warrant the extra comfort.
The waters off Kona are usually calm, but if you want a smooth boat ride keep on eye on the weather conditions, and talk to your tour guide about policies about lead time and refunds.
One of the finest tours available is offered by Jack’s Diving Locker. http://www.jacksdivinglocker.com/