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Magnificent mantas

March 14, 2013

When there’s a cold, gray day splattered by graupel out the window, I feel happier looking at our final photo collection from our adventures. Hopefully you’ll feel the same way when you view the shots of gorgeous beaches and clear, blue waters.

The Hawaii portion of our trip couldn’t really be called a stopover, even when set against the prior few months of travel. It was in some ways an afterthought, in some ways an opportunity to drag out our return to winter, and in some ways just the perfect time to visit with family and friends. We flew from Sydney to Honolulu, where we met my sister and Gavin, as well as our friend Nicole and her infant son Dylan, to all board a plane to Kauai. We spent a few days there staying with our friend Julia, her twin 4-year-old daughters, and their very Porter-like puppy—whose exile to the backyard kept us from popping up our tent for George to hide in. Instead, he rallied for trips to the beach, a coastal drive, and an entertaining Valentine’s Day party at the local bar.

From there we flew to the Big Island, where the grand reunion began—”grand” because all of Gavin’s grandparents were on hand to be entertained by the little G man. He did a fabulous job, as you’ll see from his dominance of the album. It was our last chance to see him and Kristy until they and Adam move back to America in a few months, and we both will miss our little buddy.

But we had one final highlight from our trip: a night dive with giant manta rays. We talked my dad into joining us as a snorkeler, so the two video clips below feature both angles. This is one of the few times we would ever want to be diving in the same area as a lot of other people—because that’s what makes the dive so spectacular.

Here’s the scenario: Snorkelers hold onto lit floats from above; divers sit on the ocean floor shining powerful lights upward. The light attracts plankton. And the plankton attract mantas. They do backflips in the water column between the snorkelers above and the divers below, mouths open wide to capture plankton with every turn of their 14-foot-wide “wings.” I’m still trying to find the words to put the experience into a poem. For now, enjoy these:

Photos:
Hawaii: The last stop

Videos:
Mantas: Snorkeling with Rich
Mantas: Diving with George and Julie

Manta!

All video was filmed by Ocean Wings Hawaii; manta photos were taken by the same or captured from the videos. You can learn more about the specific mantas we saw and about the Big Island’s manta population in general at their website.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. melisse permalink
    March 14, 2013 11:35 pm

    Fantastic photos of the manta rays!! Thank you for inviting me to go see them. I am so glad that we ordered the professional video and photos. I was kicking myself that I did not take the underwater camera at night with all those lights and so close to the manta rays. The photography fits well with your Ditch the Dog blog. I will have to make sure all senior CRASH see this. Love, Dad

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