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Kona Manta Ray Night Dive


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#1 sasdasdaf

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 01:08 AM

I recently had the good fortune of doing the famous Kona manta ray night dive. It was a truly once in a lifetime experience to be so close to these amazing creatures. I wrote a report here and the pictures are here. Some highlights are below. I used a Nikon D40 and 12-24 mm lens in an Ikelite housing, with one DS-160 and one DS-125. I'm not happy with the soft corners, but such is a life with a wide angle rectilinear lens. I hope to be able to go back one day with a 10-17 mm fisheye! Hope you like them.

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#2 RickM

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 03:48 AM

That is an amazing dive! I've been fortunate enough to do it several times and I'm still in awe of these creatures. How many mantas did you have that night?

#3 stewsmith

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 03:57 AM

#4 & #5 are pretty special. Off to read your trip report and salivate over the rest of your photos.

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#4 sasdasdaf

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 06:00 AM

We had 2 mantas that night. We spent the first 30 min of the dive waiting before they showed up. But when they did, they put on a heck of a show for us. Truly awesome and memorable.

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#5 Scubysnaps

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 06:17 AM

Nice!!
Cheers
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#6 seadweller

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 06:24 PM

looks like a u had a great time. ive always wanted to do that dive and think i will be in hawaii this january. where did u stay and would you recomend it? also who did you dive with and was there any other diving that you enjoyed besides the manta night dive?

#7 sasdasdaf

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 09:12 PM

The dive was really fantastic and I recommend it to everyone! It was a unique experience and something I would repeat in a heartbeat. Don't miss it!

I was actually on the Big Island for a friend's wedding so I did not have time to do any other dives. Scott Geitler's website has an article that discussing diving in Kona. You can find it here:
http://www.uwphotogr...com/kona-diving

I stayed at the Four Seasons Kaupulehu, which is where the wedding was held. It's a wonderful resort but very expensive. I'd highly recommend it if you don't mind the prices.

I dove with Fair Wind. They mostly specialize in snorkelers. We went with them because our group consisted of a large number of snorkelers and only a few divers.

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#8 Steve Douglas

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 10:30 AM

Is there a time of year when it is best to do the night manta dive there? I always thought I was the only one in the world who had not done it but I will finally get the chance this coming June.
Steve
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#9 buceo

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 10:43 AM

Very nice

#10 waterproof mp3

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 11:48 AM

Manta Rays are awesome. When I was in Hawaii on the Big Island these guys shows up at night near the lights. The swim around the lights because the algae and other food source are attracted to it and this is what the Manta Rays were feeding on. But I wish I would have swam with the beautiful creature like you did.

#11 derway

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 06:33 PM

They do not seem to be seasonal. But many folk say they show up more during no or little moon, and are less drawn to the lights during full moon.

I've done this dive numerous times, and even just doing night dives on the reef in kona, mantas show up, sometimes, and zoom over your head, so as to grab the plankton in your flash light.

I've never seen such clear and clean water around the mantas. They come for the swarming plankton.

Sasdasdaf, did you photoshop away the snow?

Great shots!
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#12 sasdasdaf

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 12:40 AM

This dive is still fresh in my memory as being one of the most amazing and humbling dives in my career. It is truly a gift from nature to be able to interact with these wonderful gentle creatures. I really hope I can go back and repeat the dive in the near future, this time with a 10-17 fisheye lens.

Don, actually the water was not all that clear. It was the usual plankton soup that mantas tend to like. I had the strobes stretched out (using 5" + 8" ULCS arms on either side) and back such at the face of the strobes were almost 6 inches behind the face of the dome port. I did a bit of cleaning up in PS but not a whole lot. Below is pic #5 as it came out of the camera, so you can see for yourself. I don't have the rest of the pics handy as I am in the office and my pics are at home, but you get the idea.

Posted Image

Edited by sasdasdaf, 14 March 2011 - 12:41 AM.

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#13 derway

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:21 AM

Yeah it is always amazing to me how dirty it looks, to eye, during the dive. And how much cleaner it looks, with the strobes well positioned.

This is one of the few situations where a photo looks better than it looked at the time, to our own eyes.
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#14 TN DIVER

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 07:50 PM

I recently had the good fortune of doing the famous Kona manta ray night dive. It was a truly once in a lifetime experience to be so close to these amazing creatures. I wrote a report here and the pictures are here. Some highlights are below. I used a Nikon D40 and 12-24 mm lens in an Ikelite housing, with one DS-160 and one DS-125. I'm not happy with the soft corners, but such is a life with a wide angle rectilinear lens. I hope to be able to go back one day with a 10-17 mm fisheye! Hope you like them.

Posted Image
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TN DIVER / Stevenandersonphotography.com

#15 diver dave1

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 06:22 PM

Would a 45 degree viewfinder be of any benefit on this Manta dive or the black water dive?
Been thinking of getting one and those dives are next up on my trip schedule.

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#16 sasdasdaf

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 05:43 PM

Sorry, I have no idea. I used an Ikelite housing with the crappy standard viewfinder.

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#17 Steve Douglas

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 12:55 PM

Just a thought. How are videographers going about filming during these night dives when a zillion photographer flashes are going off? Any tricks and tips?
Steve
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I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.