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Manta Rays in Kona Hawaii

Teresa Ray (Update January 2011)

Friday, January 27, 2012
Hi and Happy New Year to all Manta Enthusiasts.

Back in November we reported that Teresa Ray is pregnant.
Here are two updated images of her pregnant belly from January 18, 2012.





We think she has 2 or 3 more months to go before a new Manta pup is born. We will keep you updated.

With Aloha
Martina, Jim and Ryan

News from the Manta Rays (December 2011)

Monday, January 23, 2012
Aloha, the first half of the month of December was slow for Manta Ray sightings. Several nights we had only fly- bys or late shows. Numbers began to pick up though during the month: Blain Ray was seen 18 times and Koie Ray and Kailey Ray are sharing the "Manta of the Month" with 22 sightings. The following numbers will give you an overview of the numbers of Mantas we saw at the airport location and at the Sheraton.



The complete statistics for December can be found here:

The Manta Dive/Snorkel is extremely popular today and with the large influx of Holiday travelers we had many participants joining the activity. There were several nights in a row with 100+ people in the water and the Mantas gave a great show. Some guests were wondering if this would be detrimental to the Manta Rays: We can assure you and this is based on thousands of hours we have spent with the Manta Rays at the dive sites that the Mantas behavior has not changed over the years and they care less how many people view them as long as everyone obeys the rules and are quiet and calm observers respecting their environment. We actually have been able to condition more Manta Rays over the years.
This being said, we do believe that we are coming to a point where we have reached the limit of how many people can be organized at night under water and also on the surface during the 45-60 in-water activity.

We had not seen Reece Ray since October 2010, so we are really excited that she made 4 appearances this month. On December 19th and 24th she joined the "dinner table" at Manta Heaven, then she moved south to share "dinner" at Manta Village on the 27th and 28th. So happy to have her still around.

"Ralph’s Ray" found his way North from Manta Village to Manta Heaven this month. He stayed in the outskirts at Manta Heaven and enjoyed the plentiful plankton. It is always wonderful to see a real youngster among the experienced Manta Rays.



With Aloha
Martina, Ryan and Jim

Nakeli Ray (Update Nov. 16-30, 2011)

Sunday, December 04, 2011
Aloha, This month of November it seems as if things in the manta world have “flipped upside down.”  We usually encounter more mantas and stronger numbers at "Manta Heaven" (airport location) and lower numbers at Manta Village. This month has been the opposite.
There has not been much plankton in the cove at Manta Heaven and mostly we have been skunked or one or two Mantas showed up. We had Manta sightings at Manta Village every night this month.
Big Bertha, Lefty, Teresa Ray and Koie Ray made regular appearance at the southern location. They were joined by Kailey Ray, Margo Ray, Melainah Ray, Mac Ray and Jana Ray. The plankton has been consistent there and it seems as the mantas that usually frequent the airport location are just following the food.

We are so blessed that we have two well established feeding areas here on the Kona Coast. If one dive site has no Manta Rays, we have a back-up plan and we can explore the other site. We are still able to show our customers the beauty and grace of these magnificent animals.

Kailey Ray is our gold metal manta this month.  She was at the dive site 24 times of possible 30. Jana Ray, the newest conditioned Manta Ray at Manta Village (see older posts) was seen 20 times in November.
Melainah Ray is our # 3. She was seen 13 times, and this was split between both feeding areas.
Check out the statistics here!

On November 2, 2011 Ryan saw a beautiful pelagic female Manta Ray during the day. It is the first time we ever seen this manta, so the "rule " in Kona is that we have the naming rights :)
We will name this Manta Ray "Nakeli Ray", which is "Natalie" in Hawaiian. Her namesake is Natalie Munsterman, wife of dive master David from Kona Diving Company.
Nakeli Ray is easy to identify, because she doesn't have a tail. She is approx. 18-20 feet wide. WOW!

 





We wish every one a "Happy Holiday" season.
Martina, Ryan and Jim

News from the Mantas (Nov. 1 - 15, 2011)

Monday, November 28, 2011
Aloha, the first part of November we did not have much plankton at "Manta Heaven" which resulted in five nights of being skunked. But Shirley Ray saved us on four nights when she was the only Manta Ray to check on the "buffet".

We always have to remember that this experience is not about Manta Rays meeting "humans"; it is definitely all about food. The Manta Rays care less who is attached to the lights, but they do care about the food in front of the lights. This being said, when we have no plankton at the established manta sites, then the Manta Rays have no reason to come.

"Manta Village", on the other hand, has had consistent manta sightings. Most nights have had 2 or 3 which is an average for this site. We are always happy when 1 Manta Ray shows up and Kailey Ray has come to feed every night so far.

Our youngster Jana Ray has joined the "dinner table" as a regular now and has really “opened up” to the snorkelers. She was first identified last August, but was not seen again until October. She used to stay on the outskirts and was a very shy girl. This month all that has changed and within 2 week she is now comfortable with real close-ups to the snorkelers; and we mean sometimes just inches away. This is awesome.

 




Here is a quick overview of the numbers we have seen this month so far:





There has also been many manta sightings during the daytime in current lines. Our friend and boat operator Ron Gittins of Coral Reef Snorkel Adventures identified a beautiful pelagic Manta Ray. He named it "Rami Ray", which pronounces: "ray me ray".

 

Both images were taken by Jerry Busheff.


With Aloha
Martina, Ryan and Jim

Teresa Ray is pregnant (October 16 - 31)

Monday, November 14, 2011
Aloha, we are excited to announce that we identified two new Manta Ray pups this month.  The first one was seen by Martina on October 15, 2011. We named him Ke’kai’malu which means “Peaceful Ocean”.  
We have another young boy who was identified on October 22, 2011 at Manta Village.  His name is Ralph’s Ray.   He is named after Ralph Chamberlin, who is a longtime supporter of the Manta Rays and a good family friend.






We also have a new baby manta on the way!! Teresa Ray showed up at Manta Village on October 27, 2011 and appears to be pregnant.

 




The second half of October was very good for manta sightings.  Both locations did not get skunked and our record night was 20 mantas on October 18 at Manta Heaven.
 Check out our Statistics page for detailed info...



;
Kailey Ray is the gold medal manta for this month she was seen 22 times.  She is often joined now by Jana Ray, Mac Ray and Ralph’s Ray at Manta Village.


Koie Ray is our Silver medal Manta.  She was seen 21 times this month.  


Blain Ray, Grayer, and Shirley tie for the Bronze coming in 19 times for dinner.




With Aloha
Martina, Ryan and Jim

October 1 - 15, 2011 Update

Monday, October 24, 2011
Aloha from Kona, This month of October started off slow for manta sightings. The numbers have increased over the last week at Manta Heaven with a high of 12 individual Manta Rays identified. We were "skunked" twice at each dive site.
Here is an overview of the #'s seen at Manta Heaven and Manta Village in the first two weeks of October:



We are happy to report that Mac Ray found his way back to Manta Village on October 2. In addition the newly identified Jana Ray made a short appearance on October 1, 2011. They are still pretty shy but it is exciting to see them.  Both nights they were joined by Kailey Ray.

We would like to welcome a new manta boy to our family: Ke'kai'malu, which means "The peaceful ocean".  
We believe it is the perfect name for a Manta Ray, because it represents peacefulness, grace and beauty by just being itself.



Martina spotted this young male on October 15, 2011at Manta Heaven. The idea for his name came from Andrew Osoro. Thanks, Andrew!



With Aloha
Martina, Ryan and Jim

Update for September 16-30, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Exciting News from Manta Village: A young male Manta Ray called "Mac Ray" made his way to Keauhou. Mac Ray was identified in Kealakekua last December. On September 30 we spotted him on the outskirts of the dive site. He is shy and not so sure about the bubbles and lights, but he got a good meal just circling the divers.

 

Shirley Ray has turned into a quite friendly manta.  She has had a couple of nights where it was just her at Manta Heaven.  She put on a lovely show for everyone.  It is nice to see that new mantas are learning that the dive sites can be a good source for food.  It also increases our probability for seeing and observing these creatures in their natural environment.

Some “unusual”, or maybe its “usual”, behavior was seen at Manta Heaven this month.
We used to think that mating season was March, April, May and June. This was the time period that we saw mating trains and/ or mating mantas.  This timing also corresponded with sightings of small new manta babies.
On September 17, 2011 Andrea Ray arrived at Manta Heaven with a slew of boys following her.  This mating behavior has caused some of us to re-think our views on Manta Ray Mating season.  

The highest number of Manta Ray sightings occured on September 13 at Manta Heaven with 25 individuals identified. The highest number was 8 Mantas at Manta Village on September 3.
Check out the statistics for September 2011.

We like to point out the "Best of 3 in attendance".
The Gold Medal for the “Best attendance” goes to Grayer with 19x appearances this month.
Closely followed by Koie Ray (18x) which includes her sightings at Manta Village and Manta Heaven. She is a "traveller". 3rd place is shared by Blain Ray and Vallaray, who entertained the folks 18x this month.
Vallaray split her time between Manta Village (4x) and Manta Heaven (13x) and she completed her swimming mostly within 48 hours. Manta Heaven and Manta Village are about 16 miles apart. 

With Aloha
Martina, Ryan and Jim

News from the Mantas (Sept. 1-16, 2011)

Monday, September 26, 2011
Good News from Lisa Rae: The little female had a hook embedded on the top part of her mouth back in June. Please check out the images or read the full story here:
Lisa Rae wit HookLisa Rae wit HookLisa Rae wit Hook

On September 9th Lisa Rae joined us again at Manta Heaven and the hook was gone!  Hooray for hooks that rust!

The first part of September has been pretty consistent with Manta Sightings at both dive sites.

On September 6, 2011 we had three Manta Rays at Manta Village: Salem Ray, Kailey Ray and Vallaray. Salem and Kailey just did a few “fly-bys”, because the plankton never really got thick enough for the Mantas to feed, but to our surprise Vallaray decided to still come close to the float with the lights and barrel-roll in front of the guests. It almost appeared as if she was saying “Hey guys, I’m here...here’s your manta show, take your pictures... check me out before I leave for greener pastures.”
 

And so Vallaray did: Two nights later we enjoyed her presence at Manta Heaven (16 miles to the north of Manta Village), where the plankton was abundant.

Blain and Grayer are currently tied for most sightings this month.  We have had a few nights so far with 20+ mantas at Manta Heaven.  Hopefully the rest of the month is as good as the first!

With Aloha
Ryan, Jim & Martina

Update for August 16-31, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011
Big Bertha, Delaney, Koie Ray, Lefty, Melainah Ray, and Vallaray have all been BIG travelers this month. These six mantas changed between Manta Heaven and Manta Village several times, and this within 24, 48 or 72 hours. Big Bertha made the 16 mile trek twice in 72 hours. Check out the statistics page to see all the “traveling” from site to site that was done this month.

Delaney Ray is coming more frequently and is getting bolder around the bubbles. She was first identified in 2008 at Manta Heaven and then started to visit more frequently in May 2011.
It is very interesting to follow her moving between Manta Village on Friday (08/26), Manta Heaven on Saturday (08/28), and then back at Manta Village on Wednesday (08/31).

Kailey is healing beautifully. She seems fully recovered after losing her cephalic fin and behaves around the bubbles and lights as if nothing had happened. She is our # 2 Manta Ray for most sightings (14x) for the month of August.
Koie Ray is our # 1 Manta Ray this month with most sightings (15x) during the Manta Ray Experience. She enjoyed dinner at both locations.
Our # 3 is Melainah Ray (13x).

Melainah Ray was injured by fishing line this past February. Check out the following pictures and see how she recovered from it.

Melainah Ray - 1st time we saw her with the injury on her right wingMelainah Ray - She had just moved from Manta Heaven to Manta VillageMelainah Ray - She was moving slower than normalMelainah Ray Injury
Melainah Ray InjuryMelainah Ray InjuryMelainah Ray InjuryMelainah Ray Injury
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With Aloha,
Martina, Jim & Ryan
Kona, Hawaii

News from the Manta Rays (August 1 - 15)

Monday, August 29, 2011
In August the Manta Sightings at Manta Heaven have been steady so far.  There have not been high numbers but a few Mantas almost always showed up at the "dinner table".  The regulars: Koie, Melainah, Vicky Ray and Blain.
Please remember: This is a "Mother Nature" Experience and one Manta Ray makes a show!

On the other hand Manta Village has been a virtual ghost town with very sporadic sightings.  Kailey Ray has shown up a few times and seems to be recovering well from her injury and losing the left cephalic fin (check out our blog below (July 1-15, 2011)).

A common question from our guests: “Do the Manta Rays eat the fish in mid-water?”



The answer is, "No", they do not eat the fish, called Hawaiian Flagtails in mid-water. Manta Rays only feed on plankton.
We created a video about the Manta Rays diet. Check it out here....


With Aloha,
Ryan, Martina & Jim
Kona, Hawaii