Hawaiʻi 2017: Manta Rays


Day 7, Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My last full day in Hawaii had arrived.  We decided to make it another quiet pool day.  After a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon and stuffed papaya (amazing!), we sunned ourselves and I tried to get a bit of sun-kissed glow so I wouldn’t go home as pale as when I arrived.

Enjoying our breakfast of papaya filled with banana, coconut milk and cinnamon. YUM!

Me trying to achieve a sun-kissed glow is basically a pointless game by the way; remarkably I don’t sunburn easily (thanks to my Dad’s olive complexion), but in reality, I only have several shades of pale.  Even if I know I am tan (for me), nobody else will notice…

Yep, still pale…

I also had a chance to sit on the sea wall and chat on the phone with a close friend for awhile.  There is something peaceful about a conversation had while listening to the waves lapping on the rocks.

Me sitting on the seawall

 

The Muscovy duck resident at the condo. So cute!

I went back to the market and got some gifts for my mom and my employees back home.  And of course, one for me…

In the late afternoon, we headed into town.  We went to the Sheraton Hotel to have a couple of drinks and watch the sunset.  After dark is where the real fun starts though!

The Sheraton is situated on a bay, where the manta rays come in to feed on plankton.  The plankton are attracted to lights.  So both the tourist boats and the Sheraton Hotel light up the ocean with lights to draw in the plankton, and then the manta rays.  The tour boats offer an amazing experience; the opportunity to swim with the manta rays!

The rays are hard to see when the tourist boats are there, because the lights from the boats keep the rays further out from shore.  However, once the boats leave for the evening, the Sheraton’s lights draw in the manta rays and they soar through the water, doing barrel rolls and flipping over to expose their white under-bellies.  They are very large fish, growing up to 18 feet in width!  They are listed as vulnerable, and many nations have put a ban on fishing for them and exporting their parts.  However, there are still problems with manta rays being caught in international waters as they migrate, and as by catch.

The boats after dark – there is a manta ray in the center of the photo, slightly above the rocks

The night we were there, we saw at least a half a dozen rays.  They are beautiful, majestic creatures, and really impossible to catch on film, at night, from shore.  So you will just have to take my word for it; watching their dark shadows glide just below the surface of the water is an experience you won’t soon forget.  I definitely want to take one of the boat excursions next time and be able to swim in the water with these amazing animals!

A Manta Ray in the water – trust me on this…

That night, we went back to the condo and filled up on a later dinner of Portuguese sausage, salad and Cool Ranch Doritos. YUM!  That night I went to bed with very happy thoughts of my day and my evening with the Manta Rays.

6 thoughts on “Hawaiʻi 2017: Manta Rays

    • I did have a wonderful time. I had never been to the Big Island, and it had been 25 years since I was anywhere in Hawaii. A worthwhile trip, even if I came back basically as pale as I was when I arrived!

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