Big Island – An Island Tour & Night Diving with Mantas (USA)

Categories: Travel reports, North America, USA, Hawaii

For today we had booked a diving trip on the west coast of Big Island. Since it didn’t start until 3 p.m., we still had a bit of time to explore the island.

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The lava fields in Kalapana

After breakfast we drove from Hilo to the south to Kalapana. This place is located directly on the coast and was overrun by a lava river in 1990 – 182 houses were buried by lava at that time. In Google Maps you can see the cold lava flow down to the sea. The road 137 ends at a small parking lot, from which you have to continue on foot. From here you can walk over the lava fields to the sea.

The Black Beach

At the end of the small path you reach the so-called Black Beach. In this area, hot lava flowed into the sea a few months ago.

The snow-covered volcano Mauna Kea

Afterwards we returned to Hilo and drove west along Highway 200 – right between the two volcanoes Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The Mauna Kea is Hawaii’s tallest volcano at 4,205 meters, and its peak is currently covered in snow, and it’s hard to believe Hawaii. The base of the sleeping volcano reaches to a depth of 5,500 meters. From the bottom of the sea to the snow-capped summit, the Mauna Kea has a total height of over 9,700 meters – and is therefore much higher than Mount Everes.

The further trip was also impressive, as one has seen old lava fields again and again in different places.

Diving with Kona Honu Divers on the west coast of Big Island

Just in time at 3 p.m. we met in the dive shop of Kona Honu Divers and half an hour later we went out to sea from the Honokohau Marina. With us a total of 8 divers and 6 snorkelers were on board. The first spot “Garden Eel Cove” we reached after about 30 minutes boat trip. The divers were divided into two groups and so we went into the water with a diving instructor. As with our last dives on Maui, you could already hear the singing of the humpback whales as we went down. During our 45-minute dive over beautiful corals we saw all kinds of fish. We found the flounder and the stonefish particularly impressive. Back on the boat there was a hot shower and then we waited until it got dark. Because our second dive should be a night dive with mantas. We were very curious how many will be able to see.

Night diving with mantas

Since night diving with mantas on Big Island is an attraction, over time more and more boats came to the same place. In the end there were 18 boats – all packed with divers and snorkelers. As it slowly darkened, spotlights were placed on the seabed, which were directed upwards. At the top of the water surface were surfboards with downward-facing spotlights, which the snorkelers should hold on to.

The strong spotlights make the plankton visible in seawater, which attracts the mantas. After a short briefing, in which our diving instructor also told us that he could not guarantee that mantas would be there, we went into the water. The snorkelers stayed on the surface and the divers sat down on the seabed in a circle – equipped with a lamp and additional weights. For now it was time to wait, wait, wait. And indeed: After (feeling eternal) 25 minutes, the first manta showed up and swam close above our heads. Unfortunately, he remained the only one to look, but at least he did a few laps around the divers.

After 50 minutes we went back on the boat completely frozen and we went back to the harbour. Since we had to return to Hilo to the east coast, we had a 1.5 hour drive ahead of us. Around 11 p.m. we arrived very tired at our accommodation Aarons Cottage.

All travelogues from Hawaii (2015)

Our world trip led us after almost 2 months from the American mainland to Hawaii. Situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,600 kilometres away from the US mainland, the 50th state of the USA. For many, it is the epitome of the South Seas. During our two-week stay in Hawaii we visited four of the six main islands: Kauai, O'ahu, Maui and Big Island. Each of these islands has its own personality, nature and sights and offers different activities for all tastes: From the big city Honolulu with the famous Waikiki Beach, the fascinating Waimea Canyon and the breathtaking Napali Coast on Kauai, the famous Road to Hana on Maui to the most active volcano in the world on Big Island. The islands radiate a unique flair and have enchanted us very quickly with the famous Aloha charm.
Route Hawaii 2015 Oahu: Hawaii – Things to know, Photo spots & Travel Guide for a holiday (USA)
Oahu: Honolulu & Waikiki Beach – Our arrival in Hawaii (USA)
Oahu: Oahu – Pearl Harbor & Downtown Honolulu Memorial (USA)
Oahu: Oahu – Diamond Head & an island tour on Oahu (USA)
Kauai: Kauai – Our flight to Lihue, car rental & our hotel (USA)
Kauai: Waimea Canyon – The Grand Canyon of the Pacific on Kauai (USA)
Kauai: Kauai – An Island Tour & The Spouting Horn Beach Park (USA)
Kauai: Kauai – A catamaran tour along the Napali Coast (USA)
Kauai: Kauai – A sightseeing flight over Waimea Canyon & the Napali Coast (USA)
Maui: Maui – Our flight to Kahului & the Maui Ocean Center (USA)
Maui: Maui – Diving & exploring the West Coast (USA)
Maui: Maui – A drive along the panoramic “Road to Hana” (USA)
Big Island: Big Island – Volcano sightseeing tour in Volcanoes National Park (USA)
Big Island: Big Island – An Island Tour & Night Diving with Mantas (USA)
Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – The Chain of Craters Road (USA)
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