Each year, many tourists come to Hawaii just to swim with manta rays. More specifically, they travel to Kona on the West side of the Big Island to meet the gentle giants.
There’s no question that swimming with manta rays is a unique and magical experience – but why the Kona coast? What’s so special about the mantas around Kona, that we don’t really have anywhere else in the world?
THE MANTA RAY VIEWING SITES OF KONA
The answer: a scientific principle called Classical Conditioning (also known as Pavlov effect) as the manta rays that inhabit the coastline have learned that light attracts plankton (their main food source).
Along the West coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, different “viewing sites” were created where manta rays congregate to feed. The underwater lights at those sites attract plankton – which in turn attract the manta rays.
Hawaii is one of the few places in the world where you not only get to swim within an arm’s length of the mysterious giant fish but also have a 70-80% chance for successful sightings.
These incredible odds to swim this close to these magnificent and beautiful creatures (I mean the mantas, not the plankton) makes the Big Island of Hawaii a unique place to experience mantas in their natural habitat.