friday, after i finished school, we drove over to the other side of the island. we are staying the weekend at the mauna kea hotel (which is stunning). last night i got another check mark on the old bucket list...
we did the manta ray night dive.
we got to the harbor at 5:30. we were early, so we stopped into "bite me fish market" to eat some sashimi.
andrew and i were really pumped up.
linda says, "jon, you spilled soy sauce..."
jon says, "where??"
the fish couldn't have been fresher!
the we came aboard our vessel: the "sunset on water" (sunset on the water must have already been taken)
andrew and i sat up on the bow and it was a fun ride. big waves=big fun.
on the way out, we passed these rocks with crashing waves.
andrew and i got a pic together. one of the crew (named ti) took it for us. he was really awesome. he also informed me that my head looked like a pineapple in the picture. it does.
we rolled up to the snorkel sight right as the sun began to set.
what a sunset it was!
and the clouds over the island reflected all the pinks and purples.
goodbye sun.. hello mantas!
we got some instruction from the crew, and, as most tourists do, we had to pun on our fins before we got to the water and walk like ducks to the back of the boat. i felt a little silly. then we jumped into the water and swam to our little group floatie where we all held on together and watched the manta rays.
this was the first one we saw- my camera still hadn't adjusted to the light so he blurred. but honestly, i think it is a pretty good representation of how i felt when i saw the first one. they are about 12 feet from wingtip to wingtip.
there are divers below that set up lights. the light attracts the manta ray's favorite dish: plankton. as soon as the plankton show up, the rays start sailing in swooping around to catch the plankton.
they are so graceful. they swoop up like an airplane and push the plankton/water upwards. then they do a backflip and catch it in their mouth.
when they swam right over the light you could see a really beautiful silhouette.
their spot pattern is one way of identifying them. if i knew them by name, i could tell you who this was. you can see by linda's fin in the pic how close they were to us!
the pictures didn't come out great, but i got some phenomenal video. i'll try to edit it together into a watchable short video and hopefully post it for you guys.
watching the manta rays glide around scooping up their food in the night- silhouetted by the bright lights below was much like seeing a ballet. they are enormous and yet perfectly graceful. it was a privilege to get to come into their habitat and see how they live.