As some of you know, I love scuba diving. As ALL of you know, I’m cheap. Scuba is an expensive hobby, so I don’t do it often. My first dive was to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef back in 2009. The GBR dive was incredibly beautiful; nothing has ever come close to that first dive. That is, until I scuba dived with giant manta rays on the Big Island, Hawaii.
Why scuba the Big Island?
The Big Island is famous for giant manta ray sightings. In fact, it’s one of the few places in the world where encounters are almost guaranteed. And, because it is one of the least visited islands in Hawaii, accommodations are more affordable.
This is by far the best dive I’ve ever done!
Watch this short video of my dive!
I used Big Island Divers as my scuba outfitter. A two tank dive was $149 and included a sunset dive, night dive, a dinner sandwich and snacks. Equipment rental was extra. If you’re not scuba certified, you can also see the mantas on a snorkeling tour, but the experience of being next to them underwater is unbeatable!
Similar to my experience earlier this year bathing an elephant in Thailand, I was transfixed with the beauty and grace of these gentle giants. As they glided and danced, somewhere in the deep sea, an orchestra was playing. My breathing seemed to coincide with their movements, as if we were all connected through the mother ocean.
What to expect when diving with GIANT MANTA RAYS:
1). The best show is at night
I saw a few mantas during my sunset dive, but the best show was at night. Big Island Divers did a great job of lighting the water, which attracted millions of plankton. I then sat on the ocean floor with about 30 other divers and watched as mantas danced in the tunnel of light, gorging themselves on the plankton buffet.
2). Giant mantas can’t hurt you, but they will plow you over
Giant manta rays eat plankton; they aren’t interested in making you supper. That being said, they have no manners. Those slimy behemoths will plow right into you! Seeing a giant mouth darting for your head is intimidating but also thrilling!
3). You are attending an underwater rave party
Big Island Divers equipped each diver with a flashlight to help attract the mantas. Beams of light waved everywhere, with mantas doing acrobatics in the glow. I was at an underwater rave party. Seriously… it was surreal.
*You may also be interested in my review of scuba diving in Costa Maya, Mexico