Best Travel Times to see Manta Rays in Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Best Travel Times to see Manta Rays in Kailua Kona, Hawaii

January 24, 2020 0 By Kailee Schamberger


Hey! Hello from Hawaii, this is Martina Wing. I want to talk about best travel times to see the manta rays today. I’m an ocean-lover, manta ray advocate, and I’ve been doing this here
in town for almost 20 years. I just want to give you some information. We have statistics to get
the point across to you guys. Then when you start
planning your trip to Hawaii and you want to see the manta rays, that’s really the goal. Then I think you need to know
about the best travel times. We have some things prepared for you. Let’s jump right into this. Our statistics are based on 20 years. Actually my husband Jim has
been doing this for 27 years while being at both dive locations and the place I’m talking about is, here is visual map for you. I’m talking about the
Big Island of Hawaii. This is the Big Island, here is Kailua Kona, up here, you can see a little manta ray this is our airport location, where we dive with the manta rays. The original place actually down here in Keauhou. More information about Keauhou, it’s right outside the
Sheraton, Keauhou Bay Resort. The airport location is
right outside the airport. When you fly in around
maybe an hour after sunset, and you see a glow in the ocean at night, that would be the manta
ray dive at this point. What I’m talking about today, Keauhou or airport or
I might sometimes say South or North, or I say Manta Village or Manta Heaven. These are the names that
we call the dive site, if you’re a diver and have a log book. I’m talking about today, My husband, James (Jim), since 1991 at the dive site I joined in 1998, he has about 6 or 7,000 dives with manta rays. I have 4,000, then we have Ryan that worked
with us for a long time, she has another couple thousand. All the information I’m giving you today is around 10,000 hours of being underwater with the manta rays. So we
have a lot of field experience. I love to share this with you. These are the locations we’ll talk about, and let’s jump right in. Hey Ingo! (speaking German) I do switch between English and German because I have this fan club in Germany. Thanks Ingo. Thanks for being here. The first thing I want to talk about as I go through the month when the best travel time would be, let’s start at the beginning of the year, which actually we jump
right into the worst month of seeing the manta rays. This has mostly to do
with the ocean conditions. The manta rays themselves are
here all through the year, but the ocean conditions
change quite a bit. In general, it starts December 15th and in January and
February it’s really rough. I have something prepared for you to give you a little bit of an idea for how rough the ocean can be, and always remember our
activity takes place about 100 yards offshore. I have three short videos
I want to show you. Hold on while I get this to work. Here we go. This is how it looks like when we have the waves coming in, big swells, and a little bit of a back story. When you think of Oahu
on the other island, we have the famous North Shore the world championship for surfing, this is when they get 30
to 40 feet of big waves. We get only 6-8 feet, that’s plenty for us. However, you don’t go into
the ocean when it’s 6-8 feet. Other videos for you too, which is actually right at
the Keauhou Beach Resort at the Sheraton. Check out this, here this is the hotel, you can see really clearly
how big the waves can be. These are nights when boats do cancel, but even if it’s lower than that, I highly recommend not to go out. This is just, it’s not fun. It’s just not fun and it’s not safe. We don’t really have the
saying “Safety Third,” because sometimes people go
out under these conditions. I want to be the critical voice and inform you about
this as much as possible. That this is just not cool. In another video I want to show you, and then I have one more prepared that which would be the airport location. To give you an idea how this looks like when the waves come in. Usually it’s super nice and calm, this is nice slow motion. These pictures speak for themselves. I hope you enjoy how this
comes across to make my point. January and February: this is when we have
these big waves coming. January and February, that is
when the big waves come in, and many many boats
cancel during these times. When you come to Hawaii, to Kona, just to see manta rays, I would not recommend to
come January and February. The cancellations, the
numbers are really high. Now let me go into March. March is 50/50, We still have the swells coming in but it’s the end of the winter time. Janice Baker (comment on fb live) Thank you, you’re awesome. I love that. Thanks for being here, Janice. Into March. March is 50/50, there’s
still cancellation. April gets better and then we go into the spring, summer, and fall, and all good. We’re really good until December 15 again. Sometimes Thanksgiving, I know in the US is about the end of November, we sometimes have bigger waves, but overall, the dive sites are all doable and their locations are okay. This is the first part, I wanted to talk about the conditions, so you can get a better idea of what that means to come
here in the winter time. Then of course, let me
look at a different angle from when is the busiest
times, when it’s not so busy. Well, it’s always busy in the summer. Really June, July, and August is when the US had some vacation time. They have these long vacations, not like Germans only have 6 weeks and the US have up to 3 months and people travel, and many people come to Hawaii. Lots of families are here
during the summer time. “Best Mentor Education ever”
says Dennis. Thank you Dennis. This is actually what I want
to do with this Facebook Live, I’m side-tracking a little bit, Facebook Live gives me an outlet, where I don’t have to do big productions, I can just prepare with
this little camera, have little bit of background footage. I have so much in store for you, so come on in every Wednesday
at 11 o’clock Hawaiian Time. Now back to holidays and stuff like this, of course holidays are higher numbers, more people in town, but these
are sometimes only weekends. Labor Day weekend or Memorial Day weekend, this is just when we
have a longer weekend, and most people don’t
really fly especially for that weekend. I mean, usually the boats are full anyway through the year. The manta activity is such a
big draw to this island now. There are many boats and most
people can fit onto them. Through the year pretty
much everybody is busy, through the summertime you will have lots of families around. Thanksgiving, week is
busy. Christmas is busy, and between the holidays. Then if you ask for the
best times to come here, now you know, May is a good time. This is between when the ocean is good and not too many people. Then we go to September, October and November’s are good too. October is a phase where we have the first two weeks when the Iron Men are here in town. This is the world
championships for the IronMan. Lots of people in town, I think the triathletes
themselves have 1500 or 2000 and then they bring all
their families with them and supporters. Easily we have another
5,000 people here in town. These folks don’t really go
on the boats before the race, but after the race the
boats are full again, and full of triathletes. Another way to look at the
manta rays and statistics, or look at manta rays, on how we will determine
when is a good time to come. I want to show you some
statistics we have made. This is all for the geeks, but this is really great information if I put this out for you. What you see here is one month and it’s the last month
we did the intense study. It’s from December of 2014, and you see up here are the dates, the weekday, then you see North and South, for these dive sites. How
many manta rays on each site, then the green one of how
many manta rays total, then underneath, you see all
the names of the manta rays, then you will see the little X’s, and that’s which manta ray
was it and at what location. We could do that because
Jim, Ryan, and myself, we were at the dive
site, well over 20 years, and we have in depth statistic of 6 years. When you look at these statistics, I can tell you what are the percentages
are to see manta rays over the years? The chances to see manta
rays in Kona, Hawaii, In 2009 to 2013 it was over 90%. It didn’t matter which
dive site you went to. Super high, this is
incredible nature experience and we stated at 90% means
if one manta ray shows up, it was a successful night, to see this beautiful animal
here during the experience. Now, Janice, (comment coming in from fb live) I love you, I’m not going to repeat that, I will, we are the best anyway. In 2009 to 2013, the percentage was over
90% for both locations. You can find all these statistics, on our website, I’m going to put a link
into this later on. I have another little goodie for you guys, to download if you want. Not last year, but the year before, we had the first time
at the airport location only 66% of sightings. This was the first year that
we had a phase of 7 weeks. That’s the longest we’ve ever encountered. When the fb live comments come out, I always get a little distracted, Sorry about that. Two years ago, 66% at the
manta location, at the airport, we had a 7 weeks of no
manta rays sightings at all, zero, nada. Then people asked us, “What
does this have to do with?” and it mostly has to do with, 95% the reasons is there’s no plankton. Then the reasons and the question is “Why is there no plankton?’ When you look at the location itself, it’s at the eddy of the river, it’s really a bay that’s
a little bit tied into, and if there’s plankton, it’s good, if there’s no plankton, it’s really bad. This had to be maybe an
ocean condition changed, I’m not really sure, I mean there was an idea. Many people said that there
are too many boats out there, and this a totally
different subject matter I want to get to at some point too, but different Facebook Live. Now in 2015 we had went down to 66% and last year we had similar situation, that the Northern location
doesn’t have as many mantas, or not as high numbers anymore, 90%, but Southern location had more consistency. Then we have to say Southern location is only two or three mantas, maybe four manta rays consistently. Then at the Northern location, – we have record nights there. Back in 2013 or 12, we had a record night with 46 manta rays. You can be here in the right
place at the right time and then you have 30 manta rays. It’s mother nature, that’s of course something you have to decide, I think I can with the
information when to travel here, you can make good decisions to come and have the best chances
to see manta rays. I hope this helps to
make decisions for you. This is my Facebook Live for today: WHat’s the best travel
times to see manta rays? Hold on, (there’s a
comment that’s come in) (laughing to herself) Janice, you’re definitely a fan of me This is awesome, and Jim of course too. Thank you much for this. I do want you to do two things today, after this Facebook Live.
When I stop the Facebook Live there will be a little
screen coming up that says, Notifications, so why don’t
you turn on Notifications so you actually get
notified when I go live, and it’s going to be Wednesdays, 11 o’clock on Hawaiian Time, which is 2pm Pacific Time and 5pm Eastern Time for the summer month. It changes over the
year, this is the goal. Then the other thing I
would like you to do is check out the statistics, I’m
going to put a link into this, and share my post, tell people that I’m going to be on Live, and I want to share all knowledge
and our love for animals, because we truly believe many
people do good work out here. Manta rays should be seen and everyone should know about them and love them and protect them. I also want to be the critical
voice in this industry and this is my outlet, here. Florida! Hello, Deb (coming in fb live) Hi, how are you doing? Thank you, miss the mantas, yeah? I’m going to say hi to
them tonight from you guys, and that’s the end for today. Thank you so much you,
and talk to you later.