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Manta ray night snorkel

Toronto, Canada
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630 posts
126 reviews
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Manta ray night snorkel

I feel like I've read every single post on this forum about the manta ray night snorkelling tours (including threads from years ago), but don't feel any more or less sure about which tour company I should choose. On the one hand, it sounds like it's better to go with a company that goes to the airport site, since there seem to be more manta rays there on average. On the other hand, two of the companies that have good reputations and which seem to focus on snorkellers rather than divers (Hula Kai and Sea Paradise) do not seem to go to the airport site. If anyone has any thoughts on this, preferably based on somewhat recent experiences, that would be great!

Sea Quest Snorkel Tours
Scuba & Snorkeling, Swim with Dolphins
Dolphin Discoveries
Boat Tours, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Scuba & Snorkeling, Swim with Dolphins, Eco Tours
Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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1. Re: Manta ray night snorkel

Your odds of seeing mantas are about the same at either location at this time. There are usually more at the airport location. The tours to Keauhou are shorter boat rides. I prefer the airport location both for the better chance to see more mantas and because I prefer Jack's, which is a large, stable boat with staff that pioneered manta research here and so they know their stuff better than anyone.

Toronto, Canada
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630 posts
126 reviews
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2. Re: Manta ray night snorkel

Thanks SheaG. Is it better to go with a company with bigger boats to reduce the chances of getting seasick on the boat ride to and back?

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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3. Re: Manta ray night snorkel

I don't know if bigger boats necessarily reduce seasickness, that hasn't always been my experience, although the catamarans and trimarans are pretty stable, but they're also just generally more comfortable IMO. It's kind of a chaotic scene at the manta ray sites, and having a larger boat with easier entry and exit and more room on board are big plusses IMO.

Fortaleza, CE
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4. Re: Manta ray night snorkel

Main seasickness problems I've read about (and you've probably seen the same) have been when snorkelers are holding onto the "ring" and are told not to move. We sat in the bar at the Sheraton and saw rays from there. The # of rays can vary widely from day to day (we saw a chart with numbers at one rental shop). We just did regular daytime, non-ray, snorkeling, from shore, and had a great time.

We used to SCUBA dive but those days have, alas, passed for us, for various reasons. Back in the days when we went, however, I was sometimes the only one in the boat getting seasick. I did generally prefer larger boats, but the type of boat can be a big difference and, as noted, catamarans can be better than solid hull boats. The exact conditions on the day you go, and in the location you go to, will probably have a bigger effect.

Edited: 4:07 pm, April 24, 2013
Portland, Tennessee
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for Waikoloa
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5. Re: Manta ray night snorkel

We just did this with Big Island Divers over Christmas 2012. My DH & DS are the divers, my FIL and I are the snorkelers. We signed up for the twilight 2 tank dive, which was great because we were the 1st boat to arrive to the area at the end of the airport.

RE: snorkeling. We did have to hold onto a ring which had lights on it. Terra from BI had a rope which she used to move us around. There were a lot of snorkelers. We mostly "kicked" each other but really not a big deal. We saw 14 Mantas that night - amazing!!! I had one Manta that dove under me 4 times - awesome! There were probably 15 to 20 boats from all different outfitters. This was one of the best things I have EVER done in Hawaii!!

BTW - last night they saw 25 Manta Rays!! http://www.bigislanddivers.com/

No matter which outfit you choose, this is a MUST!!!! For divers and snorkelers.

Boston, MA
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4,670 posts
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6. Re: Manta ray night snorkel

Jack's has a snorkeler only boat a few nights a week. We did that last summer and had a great experience. Good crew, lots of information, and the Mantas certainly did not disappoint!

Crested Butte...
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7. Re: Manta ray night snorkel

I'd second the Big Island Divers twilight trip, which we did last week. We were the first boat there by well over an hour, and one of the last two boats to leave after the manta ray night snorkel. Our boat had five snorkelers, three divers and a crew of three: one guide for the snorkelers, one guide for the divers, plus the captain. All were extremely professional and I appreciated how much they emphasized protocol so as to impact the manta rays as little as possible (unfortunately not all the tour operators seemed as conscientious). By chance, the day we went was quite rough and one woman got seasick after just a few minutes snorkeling. She ended up on the boat completely miserable and sick for the rest of time and her husband stayed with her, leaving just my two sons and me snorkeling. It made me really really glad I'd given my motion sickness prone son Bonine before the trip. With the twilight trip, we had one snorkel (or dive), a light dinner (more like heavy apps) and the night snorkel (or dive) with the manta rays, plus snacks and cocoa. I don't know about the diving, but for the snorkeling the whole evening wasn't any more expensive than the simple manta ray snorkel is with a lot of companies. As so many others have said, seeing the mantas was a once in a lifetime experience.

8. Re: Manta ray night snorkel

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