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#3 of the Most Romantic Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii

Thrilling Romantic Dive or Snorkel with Manta Rays


Fair Wind Manta Snorkel Big Island Hawaii

First, press ‘Play’ …

… then picture this

Fair Wind Manta Snorkel Big Island Hawaii

It’s night time on the Big Island, and the air is soft and cool. There’s a gentle breeze playing over your skin as you arrive at the harbor. You pull into the parking lot and look for activity, and you find a bunch of people sitting around some picnic tables, talking and laughing. They’re the group who are going out with Kona Honu on their boat, the Kona Honu One.

You park and walk over and they sign you in, fit you with a mask, snorkel and wetsuit and give you both drinks to sip while you wait. Soon, you all walk down to the dock and they hand you over to the crew, who seat you around the boat and make sure you’re comfortable.

The sky is full of incredibly bright stars – and the horizon seems endless as you look out to sea, away from the panorama of the island itself. You’re warm in your wetsuit, and a buzz of low-grade excitement fills the boat as you motor south over the gentle swells and the shoreline reveals itself. An array of lights appear, but it’s not the blinding glow that’s common to most cities and towns on the mainland – Hawaii’s laws preclude any structural up-lighting at night because of the huge Keck Observatories at the peak of Mauna Kea.

It’s a regulation designed to reduce light pollution and preserve the ability of the big telescopes to see as much as possible, but it also has a softening effect on the presence of man on these islands. You can easily imagine what it was like before people came here, and how beautiful and special it was then and still is now!

When the boat begins to slow and turn, the anticipation ramps up. The crew bound gracefully around the boat doing necessary things, and then you move to the stern and slip off into the water. It’s just cool on your skin for a second or two, as you adjust and take your love’s hand and move to the lighted board floating in front of you. There’s a plastic pipe surrounding it that you hold in both hands as you lay on the surface, floating and looking down into the water below.

Top 10 Romantic Things to Do Big Island of Hawaii
Top 10 Romantic Things to Do Big Island of Hawaii

You begin to see small motes that are drawn to the bright beams shining downward – these tiny things are the mantas’ food, and they get more numerous as the minutes pass. It’s effortless, and you begin to really relax, rocking gently on the surface as you wait in this weightless, primordial womb of light and dark for life to manifest itself. Fish come and go below you, feasting in this rich environment, and then the stars of the show arrive.  And you grip your love’s hand because it pretty much looks like this.

Top 10 Romantic Things to Do Big Island of Hawaii

And they get about six inches from you – over and over and over again (don’t worry, they only eat plankton.) Picture a creature that would fill your bedroom from wall to wall and lap up the sides, effortlessly flying around you, but never touching you. A sixteen-foot manta’s dexterity and speed is amazing, you could watch them for hours.

Top 10 Romantic Things to Do Big Island of Hawaii
Manta Ray Night Snorkel Big Island of Hawaii

Meanwhile, below you the divers are seeing this.

Top 10 Romantic Things to Do Big Island of Hawaii
Manta Ray Night Dive

And this.

Top 10 Romantic Things to Do Big Island of Hawaii

They are shy creatures, but tolerant as long as you remain quiet and give them the chance to feed. Always moving, soaring through the space below their grace and beauty are astounding. It’s mesmerizing and you can’t believe they have come – and stayed! – as long as they have. And then they leave – and with their absence you feel a sense of loss, as if you held something precious for those few minutes and now it’s gone. It’s a familiar feeling, one that often comes as you spend your days and nights here in this incredible place. And I really hope you can!

Like that?  Here are the rest of my Top 10 romantic activities on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Sunset Times on the Big Island 

And speaking of hand in hand, romantic Hawaii and gorgeous sunsets go together!    Here’s all you need to plan.

DatesApproximate Time Range of Sunset
Jan 1 – Mar 315:50 PM – 6:30 PM
Apr 1 – Jun 316:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Jul 1 – Sep 307:00 PM – 6:10 PM
Oct 1 – Dec 316:10 PM – 5:50 PM
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