These are pictures taken from the underwater reefs of the Big Island.
I dove with Kohala Divers
for most of my diving except for the Manta Ray Night Dive
, which I
chartered through Big Island Divers
All of my trips with Kohala Divers were out of Kawaihae Harbor, as shown
The coral in the Hawai'ian Islands is harder than in the Caribbean. None of the vase
sponges and fans that are typical anywhere in the warm-water Carib - mostly hard,
rock-like coral fingers and so forth.
My highlight was doing a night dive with the Manta Rays! Near Kona, this is one of
the only places in the world where Manta's congregate together for feeding. Manta Rays
eat plankton, which are attracted to light during the night. It was found
many years ago that in some places on the Big Island, exterior hotel lighting was attracting
a large amount of plankton near the resort, which in turn attracted Manta Rays.
It has been attempted in the past to setup similar night dives in other places, but there has not
been any success. It seems that the area near the Kona coast is the only spot where this
species of Manta will feed as a group.
The Manta Rays are large - around 10 to 15 feet wide from wingtip to wingtip. For each foot of width,
you can estimate around 100 pounds of weight, so a 13-foot Manta would weight around 1300 pounds.
Each Manta has a unique set of marking on its' underside. There are divers on this island that have
been diving with these same Mantas for over 30 years. Typical life span of a Manta is over 80 years!