It sounds like one of the worst nightmares imaginable… Swimming in the middle of a dark, moonlit ocean with multiple 16′ manta rays feeding just below the surface.
In reality, it’s a unique and safe experience that you should do! Hawaii’s Big Island is home to numerous manta ray tour operations that set sail at sunset to drop you off in the middle of the ocean to watch these gentle giants feed – up close.
Each boat has floating lights that attract millions of tiny plankton near the surface, causing the curious and majestic manta rays to cruise just under the surface to gobble up as many planktons as they can. These animals are filter feeders and have no interest in eating any part of you. You’ll likely see a handful (to up a dozen’ish) manta rays taking turns gliding just under the lights to get a meal.
Manta rays have no teeth and are harmless to humans. They are curious creatures who gently glide through the water filter feeding and like checking out divers and swimmers.
Manta ray tours are found in the warm waters around the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Spain, Fiji, Thailand, Indonesia, Western Australia, and the Maldives.