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Kailua vs Waikoloa night manta ray dive

Brisbane, Australia
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Kailua vs Waikoloa night manta ray dive

Hello,

I am planning a visit soon to the Big island to do the night dive with the manta rays. I was thinking of staying at the Hilton Waikoloa village.

I have been advised the best Dives leave from Kailua Kona area however this would mean needing to drive a fair distance to and from Waikoloa at night.

I have seen Blue wilderness dive shop in waikoloa also dive with the manta rays at night.

I was wanting to hear from someone with experience to find out if the waikoloa end dive is ok to do. They ave said it is a more intimate dive as there are not a lot of boats out there like the Kailua area ones... not sure if this is a good thing or not.

6 replies to this topic
Big Island, Hawaii
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1. Re: Kailua vs Waikoloa night manta ray dive

We talk about this a lot in previous topics so they're worth a look through. I've done both Kona sites many many times and the Kohala sites (they are not in Waikoloa but rather at the bays within the Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea resort areas) several times, both by boat and off the beach at Kauna'oa. The Kohala experience is vastly superior IMO because it's a tiny fraction of the people that are at the Kona locations.

Currently only two boats are going to the Kohala location (presently Kauna'oa, but they'll try Honokaope nearby if no mantas at Kaunaoa), and of those I only recommend Blue Wilderness. In addition if you just want to snorkel (I personally prefer the snorkel to the dive), Mauna Kea Mantas takes a small group of no more than six right off the beach at Kaunaoa.

Big Island, Hawaii
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2. Re: Kailua vs Waikoloa night manta ray dive

Btw I would look at another hotel, I truly loathe the Hilton. No beach, slave dolphins, hard to get into and out of, big, impersonal and completely lacking in Hawaiiana.

Northern...
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3. Re: Kailua vs Waikoloa night manta ray dive

I'll not comment on the Hilton, which some love and others hate - and do keep enslaved Solomon Islabds dolphins. But it's about the magic of the Manta Rays, or hāhālua.

These beautiful creatures are planktivores, they eat plankton. Plankton are often attracted by light at night, the hāhālua come to dine.

Kailua-Kona has scads of divers and snorkelers, the Kohala coast has a few. My predilection is do the Kohala trip to visit with these magical creatures if you're in the vicinity.

Lincoln, United...
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4. Re: Kailua vs Waikoloa night manta ray dive

Hi, We stayed at the Mauna Lani resort recently and went on a night manta ray snorkel trip with Blue Wilderness. I would highly recommend them, we had an amazing experience! The boat moors up the coast, just out from a resort, there were only 8 of us around the float, it was so peaceful . We were the only boat there, and the guests were roughly a half and half split divers/snorklers. The manta rays were totally amazing, such huge graceful creatures that literally brush past you as you float. My daughter did the trip a couple of years ago from Kona and she said her experience was quite different with lots of people and very noisy environment.

Suzi

Edited: 31 August 2017, 14:45
Hayden Lake, ID
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5. Re: Kailua vs Waikoloa night manta ray dive

I'm another fan of Blue Wilderness.

Salem, Virginia
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6. Re: Kailua vs Waikoloa night manta ray dive

My family did the Waikoloa manta dive with Blue Wilderness because of the recommendations from this website. We heard about the crowds at the other sites and we were happy to see that there was only one other boat when we went a couple of weeks ago.

The crew was friendly and we were impressed by their kindness when they fed the stray cats at the launch site. When we got to the site we were given a tutorial on mantas and then informed that our rental gear had been thrown in the water, it was overweighted because we were "going to be on the bottom", and "it won't be a problem to put the BCD on in the water will it?" It would have been less of a problem if we would have had a chance to familarize ourselves with the gear and test it beforehand. I thought the lack of the planning in this act was in stark contrast to the strict adherence to the 35 min time limit that was strictly enforced (we were only in 20 feet of water so had plenty of air left). Leaving was a little frustrating as we had only one small 6 mon old manta there throughout our dive but had to leave as soon as a larger manta arrived. It was still incredible seeing this manta and would have been my first manta if I hadn't seen one while snorkeling the day before.

We did have a very good cookie on the way back.

I would still recommend it but would advise you to make a point (if you're renting equipment) to find out what gear you'll be using as soon as you get on the boat and go through your normal routine.

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