Several excursions off the coasts of Hawaii introduce beginners to advanced divers to the manta rays. These creatures are cousins to sharks, but their filter mouths are not nearly as deadly. While their temperament often seems quite mild, you still have to be very cautions as rays are still wild animals whose actions and demeanor can change very quickly. If you have your heart set on manta ray night diving, here are a few other things you need to know first:
The Smallest of These Rays
The smallest of these rays is far larger than a human male. If a ray were rather tame, you may be able to grab onto the shoulders of the ray and glide along in the water with it. However, it is advisable that, due to their size and unknowable and unforeseeable natures, you should never take hold.
Spooked or Angry Rays Can Swim Pretty Fast
The very smallest of these could take off, swimming up to twenty-plus miles an hour. If you tried to grab hold and the ray tried to swim away fast to shake you (thinking that you were a predator) You might be so far away from your diving group that you would get very lost. This is especially true in a dark ocean where it would be difficult to see the rest of the group in the water.
They Have Tail Spikes, but They Are Not Venomous
Even though manta rays are in the same family tree with stingrays, and they both have tail spikes, the mantas' tail spikes are not venomous. That is not to say that they will not use those tail spikes to lash out in anger or when they feel threatened, but there is very little chance that you would die from being struck by the tail spike of a manta ray.
You Will Need to Have Documentation of Diving Certification
In order to watch these rays feed and migrate, you will need a diving certificate. The longer the dives and the deeper the open water, the more requirements are needed to do night diving with the rays. Check with the diving tour company to see what you need. Otherwise, you can opt to snorkel and watch the rays from close to the water's surface and near the boat, or do short, one-tank dives in water that is not quite so deep as that with the other tours.
Contact a company like Pacific Rim Divers for more information and assistance.