Scuba Diving in Hawaii
At the Big Island in Hawaii, scuba divers submerged 35 feet below the ocean surface might witness an otherworldly view of shadowy manta rays whirling elegantly above. The black-and-white manta rays are gentle giants that feed on plankton, microorganisms that are attracted to light. During night dives, several tour operators set up underwater beams to entice the plankton, which then draw the manta rays. (Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii, one of the more reputable companies, lets you book their nighttime scuba dive or snorkeling eco-adventures directly online here.)
There are two main manta ray viewing sites: to the north of Kailua Kona is Manta Heaven, located near the Kona International Airport; and to the south is Manta Village in Keauhou Bay. To pick the best months to see mantas, the Manta Ray Advocates Hawaii, a conservation organization, has a handy statistical breakdown of manta ray sightings between 2009 and 2014. Not a certified diver? A variety of the popular touring companies have snorkeling options.