Big Island Manta Report

Manta Ray and Keller Laros

At Jack’s Diving Locker, we understand that signing up for a Manta Night Dive or Snorkel trip is a considerable investment of not only your money, but also your valuable vacation time.  On average we see Mantas about 90% of the time, but they are wild animals and their appearance is beyond our control.  Obviously when they don’t show up it can be very disappointing for everyone.

Seasickness is also another major factor that can effect the enjoyment of the experience.

With that in mind, we maintain the calendar and links below to make sure you can take recent sightings and weather forecasts into planning your trip, and also to cancel with proper notice if you should determine that the conditions or risks of not seeing Mantas is greater than you’re willing to take.

Swells & Weather
First and foremost, seasickness is much more common at night than during the day, especially for snorkelers.  Please be advised that even on the calmest of nights, you should strongly consider the option of taking appropriate seasickness medication.

In addition to normal weather concerns, Hawaii’s famous ocean swells can occasionally create challenges for these trips when we have large North or West swells.  Depending on their size, these swells can cause significant surges at depth, making it difficult for divers to maintain position, and can even impact visibility when they are exceptionally large.  Local weather forecasts are not particularly reliable, but the swell forecasts are.  Below is one of the web sites we use to track the current swell forecast.  There are times when it’s safe for the trip to go, but not nearly as pleasant as when it’s calmer.  If weather conditions and swells are a concern for your comfort, please check the forecast and cancel with the proper notice.
http://www.swellinfo.com/surf-forecast/west-hawaii

Site Selection
There are two Manta Night Dive sites on the Big Island.  One is North of Kailua Kona by the Kona Airport.  The other site is South of Kailua Kona, at Keauhou Bay.

As a general rule we have a strong preference for using the Northern site, also known as Garden Eel Cove.  This site is closer, usually a little more protected, has more moorings, and provides a more concentrated viewing area for the numerous boats, divers and snorkelers that go there.  In addition, it tends to have greater numbers of mantas on average, and is a nicer dive site in general.

We will however occasionally go to the Southern site by the Keauhou Bay Sheraton if we feel there is a significantly better chance of seeing mantas there.  However, this site has limited mooring space.  Because of this, if there are only a small numbers of Mantas and lots of boats, the groups get dispersed over a large area and the viewing can vary greatly from group to group.  For this reason you’ll often hear of some boats getting a great show, and others at the same site not getting to see them very well, or at all.  So generally speaking, if we’re going South, there is a slightly greater chance of not seeing mantas, or having a more limited view of them.

Cancellation Policy
– We have a 24 hour cancellation policy, except December 20th through January 5th when we have a 48 hour cancellation policy.
– Changes or cancellations made with less than the above mentioned time periods will result in a full charge with no exception.

Manta Guarantee: While we see mantas about 90% of the time, they are wild animals and their appearance is beyond our control.  If you don’t see a manta on your night out, you can go again on another night on a space available, standby basis.  Keep in mind that these spaces may be very limited, especially during the busiest times of the year.  However, the offer never expires but is non-transferrable and has no refund or cash value.*

Manta Shot_sm

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