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Manta Rays

Ever dance with a giant named Ray? Each week, scuba divers and snorkelers off the Kona coast can meet the Big Island's most intriguing underwater denizens - its famed manta rays - at a spot nicknamed Manta Ray Village, just south of Kailua-Kona.

Each week a few boats moor off the moonscaped volcanic coast, and the crews shine powerful underwater lights, which invariably attract a deluge of plankton.

Within moments the plankton are joined by three or more Alfreda's Manta Rays. The mantas boast wingspans from 3 to 14 feet and are up to five times larger than stingrays. The mantas dive right in for a hearty plankton feast. Gently gliding, rolling, and flipping through the serene tropical waters, the mantas sift microscopic tidbits through gill plates like jumbo Dust Busters of the deep.

Guests scuba or snorkel amid the intricate ballet of the underwater behemoths, which lasts well into the night. Since the spectacle occurs at a shallow depth of 25 feet, divers are little restricted by dive tables and can readily enjoy the stunning nightly performance.

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