There is no other place in the world besides the Big Island where you can get up close and personal with these gentle giants in their natural environment. Sure, you can see them in a tank, but here you can actually be in the water WITH them. The reason for their presence was a complete accident, but it has created a unique experience that you will not soon forget. Gone are the days of only being able to SCUBA dive into their world. A number of companies will take you out to snorkel with them as well. As with any element of nature, human interaction can sometimes lead to unintended consequences, so we would like to take a moment to add some suggestions to ensure that this experience is available for the long run.
If you are snorkeling and not SCUBA diving, please stay on the surface, don’t dive down. It is very tempting, but snorkels and fins are sharp, and can easily scratch the ray’s skin, leaving room for infections to invade. Not to mention the commotion of a monkey like creature clumsily flailing through the water at night tends to scare them away. Also, avoid touching them, the oils in our skin can remove their protective slime coating., again making room for skin infections and lesions. That’s about it really. Just observe these amazing creatures from a distance and when your’re done, enjoy a mai tai and reflect on the privilege of being able to interact with these amazing creatures.
Most companies will tell you these simple rules, but we’ve been there and we understand how exciting it is when one of these animals comes effortlessly gliding out of the darkness towards you.. You just want to reach out and make contact! But resist the urge, for the sake of the rays, and for the future of the experience.