This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com
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Hawaii is a lesser-known dive destination with a unique experience not to be missed: night diving with manta rays.
Manta ray encounters are high on divers’ wish lists and understandably so, putting on a show with their barrel rolls, feeding behaviour, and activities at manta cleaning stations. These rays are found around the world at top dive destinations such as the Maldives, but the best place to night dive with mantas is at Kona, a region of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Which Type Of Manta Rays Are Found At Hawaii?
There are two species of manta ray and reef manta rays are the ‘smaller’ of the two, growing to a huge 5.5 meters across. Reef manta rays are found in warm waters around the world, including Hawaii. This destination continues to be one of the best places in the world to spot reef mantas. The mantas are drawn to the area at night thanks to coastal resort lights attracting plankton, which the mantas feed on.
Which Are The Best Dive Sites Of Hawaii?
Hawaii scuba diving is diverse and isn’t just about the manta rays. The Hawaiian island chain is made up of 132 islands with plentiful dive sites and constantly changing underwater scenery, thanks to the active volcanoes found there. There is a broad range of dives to suit all abilities and interests.
Big Island has more than 50 dive sites, with lava tubes, coral gardens and numerous types of fish found only at Hawaii. The dive sites are peaceful and it is a prime destination for liveaboards. Highlights include a tall pinnacle rising from the ocean floor at Paradise Pinnacle, the Tubastrea Tunnel swim-through and turtles found at Turtle Pinnacle.
Kona is rugged and dramatic, with volcanic basalt and hard coral formations. The mountains drop steeply into the depths and these deep waters attract large pelagics to the area. Whilst Kona is famous for its night dives with manta rays, you can also see sharks, whales and dolphins.
This island is home to countless eagle rays, frog fish, turtles and the YO-257 and San Pedro wrecks. Diving from O’Ahu in the summer allows accessibility to the famous Hawaiian North Shore dive sites such as Shark’s Cove and Three Tables.
Black Rock is a popular site at Maui but there are plenty of others with pristine coral reefs. The Molokini Crater of Maui is a dive highlight, with mantas, sharks and whales, whilst the St. Anthony and Carthaginian artificial reefs teem with biodiversity.
Molokai has 40 dive sites and a 30-mile-long segment of pristine reef with outstanding diving. There are shallow and deep dives with plenty of marine life, including hammerhead sharks and rare Hawaiian monk seals – found at Fish Bowl, Fish Rain and Deep Corner.
The caverns of Lana’i are a dive highlight with fantastic water visibility, and Cathedrals I and II are popular for finding new fish species and rare invertebrates. Divers visiting in winter may also see humpback whales.
Kaua’i is the place to visit for encounters with numerous green sea turtles and also whitetip reef sharks. Turtles Bluff has sand caves, sharks and turtle cleaning stations.
What Kind of Diver Is Hawaii Diving Suitable For?
Hawaii diving is suitable for all experience levels, and night diving with mantas is available for both divers and snorkelers. Exploring Hawaii by liveaboard allows divers to explore the best of each island more easily and to reach the remote islands all during one safari. The Kona Aggressor II offers night diving with mantas as part of their safaris.
When Is The Best Time To Dive Hawaii?
Diving is possible all year but the best time to visit is during winter, when divers may hear humpback whales as they migrate through the area. The water temperature varies from 24°C (75.2°F) to 26°C (78.8°F).
The World Shootout winners were announced at this years returning Boot show.
Producer David Pilosof initiated the first World ShootOut online competition in 2011, breaking all boundaries and introducing an international competition as never produced before.
Hundreds of photographers from around 40 countries around the world take part in the World ShootOut competition year after year, submitting thousands of images and videos, ranging from those that capture the calm lakes of the Nordic countries and Canada, showcase the exotic secrets hidden in Alaska and introduce the great dramatic white shark in the Gulf of Mexico.
Claudio Ceresi from Italy won the top valuable prize for best picture of the year $10,000 worth of 3 weeks diving vacation for 2 people, in Papua New Guinea.
The winning video can be seen here:
We have featured a few of the category winners in the gallery above. To see all the images placed in this competition, visit the World Shootout Website
A new book by experienced diver Christine Edwards has just been published, which aims to inspire children and young people to better understand sharks and become advocates for ocean and environmental protection.
Sharks Are Scary Aren’t They? tackles themes such as the human impact on the environment and the protection of sharks and their habitats. The story depicts the emotional journey of Charlie Parker, a fearful twelve-year-old boy, and Jane Jones, a retired dentist and scuba diver, who meet by chance on a beach. Despite the years that separate them, they discover they are more alike than they could have imagined.
Sharing the world through the eyes of sharks, hearing about the struggles and dangers they face and how they are on the brink of extinction, brings the two friends closer together. In this book there are stories of shark encounters, the majesty of the underwater world and how the impact of human activity and plastic pollution is affecting their habitat. Most of all, the two characters learn about the power of the human spirit to change in the face of adversity.
Author Christine Edwards was born in Chester in 1962. She read psychology at Warwick University, then worked as a teacher for twenty years. In 2004 she trained at Birmingham Theatre School to become an actor. As a teenager Christine feared the sea and the sharks that swam there. After trying a scuba dive in 2006 and making 1,200 dives around the globe, everything changed. She now adores sharks, hence writing this book.
Christine says: “Conquering a deep rooted fear of the sea and terrified of the sharks that roamed there, I made the astonishing decision to try a scuba dive in 2006. The moment I sank beneath the waves and glimpsed at the world below the surface, I was well and truly hooked. Since that first plunge underwater, I have accomplished over 1200 dives in seas and oceans around the globe. My fear of sharks has turned into a passion for them. Whenever I would describe my shark encounters to friends or family they invariably expressed concern and questioned why anyone would dive with such a dangerous species.”
Christine continues: “My book came out of the need to redress the balance for this wonderful fish. Sharks have existed for 450 million years, well before the dinosaurs, and still exist today. They are being hunted and cruelly killed for their fins and are probably one of the most misunderstood creatures on our planet. The knock-on effect of their demise will be catastrophic. Oceans without sharks will cause negative changes to other species – without this apex predator keeping other fish in check, our coastlines and reefs will ultimately suffer. The oceans need sharks!”
The paperback of Sharks Are Scary Aren’t They? (ISBN 9781915352613) is out now and was published on 28th January 2023 by The Book Guild, an imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd. Priced £8.99, the book is available from https://bookguild.co.uk/bookshop/ as well as at bookshops and through Amazon and other retailers.
Check back for our review of Sharks Are Scary Aren’t They? soon!
Header Photo credit: Jane Davies Photography. Photo of Christine Edwards on a dive.
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