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  • Writer's pictureKeli's Concierge Kona


Updated: Sep 25, 2023


Visitors to the Kona Coast of the Big Island have an opportunity to participate in one of the most unique ocean adventures in the world! Manta rays frequent the warm waters of the rocky volcanic coastline in search of plankton, their primary food source. With their giant mouths constantly open, they glide through the water and filter these tiny creatures. Manta rays are often called "the butterflies of the sea" … they are shy, harmless, and graceful. They don't have any stinging spines on their tail. They don't bite or chew. Their mouths are designed like a giant funnel to filter plankton. Swimming with them is completely safe for both humans and for the manta rays. They truly are gentle giants – most of the mantas found along the Kona coast have a "wingspan" of 8-13 feet! There are two spots along the Kona Coast where mantas congregate in the early evening. Lights are placed on the ocean bottom in about 30 feet of water, and snorkelers float at the surface holding onto a raft that has more lights shining down. This concentrates the plankton near the snorkelers, and the leads the mantas to perform a water-based acrobatic dance as they swoop in circles just below the amazed observers. This is a MUST DO activity and one of the best / most reliable places in the world to participate in this fantastic activity!

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