THE TRAVEL CHANNEL named Kona’s manta ray night dive one of the top 10 things to do in your lifetime. As they feed on the plankton attracted to the flashlights held by divers and snorkelers, the gentle yet massive rays, with wingspans of up to 16 feet, somersault and swoop close to their audience in an otherworldly underwater ballet.
Keller Laros, the “Manta Man” at Jack’s Diving Locker, remembers just a few boats going out every week when the dives started in the mid-1980s. Now that the dive is internationally known, much has changed. “During busy season, we see at least 20 boats at the site, putting over 200 scuba divers and snorkelers in the water every evening,” Laros says.