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Dives 20 and 21: Big Island Manta night dive

We went down to the shop after lunch and picked up ear stopper things. Used them for dives 7 and 8, but they didn’t help as much as I’d hoped. Sounds like they were really good for dad though.

Dive 1: Manta Cove in the afternoon

The first dive was an afternoon dive at Manta Cove. We saw Frank the undulating moray, another flame angel, more Potters Angels (and pyramid and raccoon and ornamental), a lion fish, a reticulated butterfly, a school of barracuda and a rare long nosed butterfly in transition to its black form. It was shiny and had the yellow hidden in as almost an undercoat for the black. Dad spotted those guys and was So Proud. We also got to see a red octopus out for a walk down the coral. So cool to see it in motion! And I almost forgot! On the way out of the marina a tiger shark passed us heading south as we went north. It was about 8 feet long and at the surface. Almost kept my brothers fiancee out of the water for snorkeling, but she braved it.

My brother and I had lots of air at the end of the first dive so we took a quick trip out tot the Big Blue to find early mantas. No luck, but it was pretty cool to get out there and see the water with no reference points.I really had no idea at the time what going out to the Big Blue really implied. My brother explained it to me later, sharing that the farther out you go from shore the more likely you are to see the bigger wildlife. This is pretty exciting, but also means you could easily meet a tiger shark or equivalent out there.

The trip back up to the surface was tough because of the surge, but the extra dive was worth it. Then we waited around a bit to desat and get the manta briefing and eat. The brownies the owner at KDC makes are so good, it’s just insane.

Dive 2: Manta Cove at night

The second dive was the manta dive itself. We had to get down laying basically flat on our bellies and have the lights over our heads. Fortunately the bottom was an incline so we were facing up even laying down. The surge wasn’t great (pretty strong and I still had sand in my scalp even after a shampoo the next day) but holy sh*t was it worth it. I was in awe the whole time, with the mantas gliding overhead and gracefully avoiding each other. Their mouths are just enormous. They kept swooping over us and doing rolls to get more passes over the same area. Words don’t do it justice, it was just so amazing. We only had 12 come through, but it felt like there were a million since they kept passing by. Toward the end we were the last dive group down there (there were 12 boats with divers and snorkelers) and the mantas were still hungry so they congregated right over our heads. Things got a bit competitive and the mantas started actually running into one another. We bought the video, but even that doesn’t really convey the sheer awe of being down there and seeing those gills coming at you. Dad got bonked in the head by wings a couple of times and I was nearly hit in the face by a couple of tails.

After we went to Kona Brewing Company to unwind a bit. Don’t know how well that worked, we were still pretty cranked up when we got back at midnight. But it was fun to chat with new friends from the boat, kiwis no less!

Dive details

  • Gear
    • 5 mil wetsuit, plus shorty, boots, no gloves or cap/hood
    • 18 pounds
    • water temp 80F
  • 1: max 56ft for 68 minutes
  • SI 1:18
  • 2: max 52ft for 52 min
    • extra 4 pounds to help keep us down
Crossposted from Journey to the Center, comment here or there with OpenID.
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