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Best time and place to see mantas?

left coast
14 posts
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Best time and place to see mantas?

I'm looking at different options to view manta rays and would like to know what others think about Blue Sea Cruises' Evening on the Reef and Glass Bottom Cruise. The price seems reasonable ($75.95), and it includes dinner and one drink and entertainment.

I've also thought about doing the night snorkel/dive trip but am having second thoughts about that. I have snorkeled before (don't scuba dive), but always during the day and in very calm water. I never go underwater and prefer to stay on top with a noodle or life jacket to hold onto. So I'm not sure if the night snorkel trip would be a good experience for me.

We will probably view the mantas from the Sheraton, but I'd like to get a more close-up view if possible.

So my questions are:

Is the glass bottom boat trip worth it? Do they usually see mantas? Are they they only ones who do this type of trip?

Are mantas out all night or just right after sunset?

Would you recommend the night snorkel trip to someone who is a *somewhat* fearful, inexperienced snorkeler?

Are there any other on-shore places to see mantas?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

GG

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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11. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

While I don't disagree with what some of the other posters have said re: the manta night snorkel for an inexperienced snorkeler, I do have to chime in to disagree with the more experienced divers. I've been diving for about 15 years. For a couple of years I was diving at least once a week. But I first did the manta ray night dive when I didn't have that many dives under my belt, and very few night dives, and I didn't find it scary at all. I have taken my six-year old on the manta ray night snorkel and she loved it. (Granted, she's very comfortable in the ocean, but it was her first time there at night). I have done the dive now several times and actually I find it kind of boring. I like cruising around to find eels and helping them hunt fish with my flashlight...lol.

Oklahoma City...
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for Oklahoma, Grove
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12. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

Lucky you, you must have gone on a night when there weren't so many other divers in the water kicking masks off, bubbles, boats, and the other confusing things OR you have nerves of steel...lol

left coast
14 posts
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13. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

Bips--Thanks for revisiting this thread. I hadn't thought about the night dive being confusing, and I think that would really unnerve me. All those bubbles and fins! I would surely panic if someone or something knocked my mask off. I think I'll call Blue Sea Cruises and get some more info about where they go and if they anchor. I agree that it would be dangerous for them to be cruising where snorkelers and divers are. Maybe they go on days the other boats don't?

SheaG--Thanks for offering a different perspective. Your daughter sounds braver than I am! (But I'm not very comfortable in the ocean, having had a bad experience my first time, at age 14. Snorkeling is a giant leap for me!)

Los Angeles...
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14. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

I'm more interested in this manta bar where they hang out after work ;-)

We have a place like that for dolphins here, called Phins.

Hey. It's early and I was having a morning read with my coffee! :-) Great info, wish I had time to do it. Next trip.

Palm Springs...
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15. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

the manta dive is something that some love, and some dont. Each person has a different comfort level and someone else's experience is in no way like your going to experience.. because it's you...

Thus it is very subjective...you might not like what I like....Dont assume anothers experience will be yours. Even though I have been diving for a long time..serious diving I have two things I wont do for love or money..cave diving and night diving..

Thats me....as many love both.

I would never consider night snorkeling....as it violates several cardinal safety rules of ocean safety and is more risky than scuba. I didnt get to this age by doing dumb things...(well a few)

There. are about 70 large mantas that live here year around and each has a territory they settle in.

The entire coast is a manta rich zone and they all dont come to one or 2 spots.. SO a boat at night is very likely to encounter one .

left coast
14 posts
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16. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

I sent email to Blue Sea Cruises to get more info. Here are the questions I asked, with their responses.

1. Does the boat anchor at all? If so, where?

>>>The boat does not anchor at any time during the dinner cruise.

2. Does the boat go to the same area as the boats doing the manta ray night dives?

>>>There are one or two dive boats that occasionally visit the same manta station we do. However, most of the dive boats go farther north for their manta dive.

3. What time does the boat leave at this time of year?

>>>During January we leave the pier at 5:30 pm. Beginning Feb 1 we will be departing at 6:00 pm.

4. How long have you been doing the evening cruise? In that time, how often have you encountered manta rays?

>>>We began Evening on the Reef tours with the arrival of our new glass bottom boat in July 2007. We do track our manta encounters, our current rate is 89%.

5. What kind of food is on the dinner buffet?

>>>(Attached dinner menu): mixed green salad with papaya seed dressing, teriyaki beef kabobs, chicken with mango chutney, hawaiian rice pilaf, vegetable ratatouille, dinner rolls, mango chocolate cheesecake

----------------------

I think 89% is pretty good. I will probably book this tour and will report back here on how it was.

Thanks again.

Oklahoma City...
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for Oklahoma, Grove
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17. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

Definitely!! Do the trip and report back.

Island of Hawaii...
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18. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

I wonder what the "Hawaiian Rice Pilaf" is.

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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19. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

goingsgood, just something to think about. I've been on a moving glass-bottom boat once - well, it was a big cat with a glass-bottom pontoon - and got incredibly, horribly sick. Not to say that you'll necessarily have the same experience, but I'd sure take some precautions against seasickness.

Kona, Hawaii
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20. Re: Best time and place to see mantas?

goingsgood, thanks for getting all of that info for us, I am looking forward to you sharing a trip report!