Swim with a Manta Ray

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - IT’S A BIG, BIG ISLAND -

They may look fear­some, but manta rays, known in Hawai­ian as ha­halua, are really quite tame.

Though re­lated to sharks, th­ese amaz­ing sea crea­tures have no teeth and no tail stingers, mak­ing them harm­less to hu­mans but no less in­trigu­ing to watch.

Noted for its res­i­dent manta ray pop­u­la­tion, the Kona Coast is one of the best places in the world to get close to them. Many lo­cal div­ing and snor­kel­ing com­pa­nies con­duct night­time manta ray runs, or you can hope to catch a peek from the shore. The water off the Sher­a­ton Keauhou Bay Re­sort & Spa is a reg­u­lar feed­ing spot for manta rays, and a good place to see them on­shore is from the lanai off the Crys­tal Blue cock­tail lounge. The re­sort will turn on its out­door lights when the manta rays ap­pear.

Dive shop own­ers say manta rays can be found most days from as far north as wa­ters off the Kea­hole-Kona In­ter­na­tional Air­port to Keauhou Bay. Divers are in­structed to stay near the bot­tom and snorkel­ers on the sur­face to al­low the manta rays room to ma­neu­ver.

• Aloha Kayak Com­pany (808) 322-2868 • Fair Wind Cruises (808) 345-0244 • Ka­manu Char­ters (808) 329-2021 • Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii (808) 325-1687 • Nep­tune Charlies Ocean Sa­faris (808) 331-2184 • Ocean Eco Tours (808) 324-7873 • Sea Par­adise (808) 322-2500 or (800) 322-5662 • Splasher’s Ocean Ad­ven­tures (808) 326-4774 • Sun­Light on Water (808) 270-8765

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