Night Manta Tour Photo Shoot
AMAZING!!!! I finally went night snorkeling with Mantas. I was doing Photography for Anelakai Adventures, a manta tour company. It was amazing to swim with the mantas. Since I was photographing the tour I was free to swim around with them & the guest to get pics. Super fun!
The tour group uses traditional Hawaiian double pontoon boat painted yellow & red. Its is very stable, they tell you it is virtually impossible to flip so no worries there.
You paddle out to the snorkeling spot right in front of the Sheraton Resort in Kona. Only takes little more then 5 mins to paddle out, very easy to do. I have a bad left shoulder & I had no problems.
Once your at the spot you get in the water & hold on to hand bars in between the boat & just float there watching the mantas & fish. Simple, easy & very amazing to see. See more info at the bottom of the article for details to book a tour.
Now with underwater Photography you have to "spray & pray" as we lovingly refer to in the profession, I took over 800 pics.
This shoot was very tricky. Very hard photo conditions with no underwater strobes. Low light with a bright light source, a purple/blue light (hard color to edit, this pic isnt the original color) & high speed action of the mantas swimming with cumbersome water housing controls, not ideal lol.
Glad I shot so many photos cause less then 5% of the pics turned out. The ones that did look cool & otherworldly though! Check them out!
A pic from the manta dive last night. SO AWESOME to swim with these gentle creatures. This photo reminds me of the 80's James Cameron film 'The Abyss." One of my favorites. So easy to believe your in another world, many would say you are pretty much.
They are aliens surely, haha. Crazy to see the mantas swim in the darkness, almost like a dance in a spotlight on stage.
A guest from one of the other tour groups, fins are cool but you dont get to swim so they are sorta pointless. Anelakai Adventures gives you ankle floats so you can relax & easily float on the surface.
All the boats have their own color of lights underwater that the mantas go back & forth between. On busy nights it is hard to get the mantas to hang around for a long time cause they have multiple options to swim to. SCUBA divers get involved also, the bubbles in the pic below were from a group swimming under me.
I went out on the most early tour of the night & we got there before the other boats cause this tour company operates with smaller groups for a more personable experience. I highly recommended these guys, the mantas come closer I feel also cause the company doesnt have a giant boat.
Check out http://www.anelakaiadventures.com/ if you wanna book a tour with them. Very nice people running it, Iko & his wife Holly. The crew Amy & Hana were very friendly as well.
Fun experience if you wanna avoid the huge crowded tour boats. Your in & out quickly cause there is only a max of 6 people per group. Which I like cause its a fun quick adventure & your not paying for cheap food or drinks or other amenities. Just good fun!
I highly recommend them for a manta tour. They offer 3 tours per night for mantas & other day tours as well. Please check them out if interested.