On the Friday night of our visit to the Big Island, we were invited back by Neptune Charlie’s Ocean Safaris to join in with their Manta Ray swim. This was a dream come true for me! Already having spent time with part of the crew; Quentin, Alicia and Joi, and then having met the wonderful ladies who run the company; Dani and Bryn, we knew we were going to be in good hands and had a great evening in store for us. Had the chance to meet with more amazing crew members too; Jessica and Andy – I know I’m forgetting some names, so feel free to slap me with a flipper the next time I come by!
Neptune Charlie’s Ocean Safaris runs the night manta swim under the name *Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii* , on the same beautiful boat, the Manta. Reservations can be made via both companies and you can get specials if you book more than one excursion at a time.
This night, we had a nice ride out to the cove where the mantas are known to feed on the plankton they love so much. On the way out, I spotted a mother and baby humpbacks just off the side of the boat and I was so thrilled. I did manage to get a few good shots of them, and this is one of my favourites of mama heading back under the surface of the water. Not many people understand just how much it means to me to be able to see these beautiful animals like this, it’s always been a dream of mine to go whale watching, and with the crew here, I got to do that and more! Dolphins, whales, gorgeous sunsets and manta rays!!!
As we traveled on to our destination, we had a nice time chatting with Quentin and Andy, sitting up in the fresh air, with the perfect view of everything around us. The sun was beginning to set and everything was just so beautiful. You couldn’t ask for a better time…soon it was time for our safety information session and manta class which Jessica gave us. She was great, told us everything we needed to know and made sure we were all set up for this exciting experience!
It was then time! Sun was down, I was squeezed into my wetsuit, had my snorkel and mask ready and plopped myself into the ocean to swim out to our floating swim ring…there I just lay flat on the surface of the water, shining my swim light down and waited….oh it didn’t take long! We soon had so many mantas doing barrel rolls within inches of us to feed on plankton which was attracted to our lights. It was beautiful! These gorgeous and peaceful creatures flying through the water … I was one of the lucky ones and was slapped at least twice by them. I giggled as I heard grown men scream into their snorkels out of fear or surprise haha, either way it was funny to me 🙂 Below us we also had divers enjoying the dance of these mantas from their own vantage point. We even had the rare opportunity of having two bottlenosed dolphins show up during our swim! They tell us that it is a very rare thing to have happen on one of these dives! Although, at one point I was getting cold, I didn’t want this night to end. This is truly a magical experience. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as a manta … hey, one, we saw more than the others that night is my namesake anyhow…maybe it’s a sign!
If you’re on the Big Island of Hawaii, this is a must as a part of your visit. You will NOT be disappointed. A family run business with a fabulous crew. Safety is a priority with them and they will show you the time of your life! They provide all you need to snorkel and also can for diving. Check out their website for rates etc… Contact them for a tour and for one of the best experiences you will have in your lifetime! We will have video uploaded soon to share here….you’ll see, it’s just AMAZING!!!! Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii … I hope to be back to see them again soon!