Manta Rays in Kona Hawaii

Statistics for 2011

by Martina Wing - Friday, May 18, 2012
Aloha, today we are excited to share the Manta Ray Statistics for 2011 with you.
Click here to open/download the accompanying 7-page pdf-file.

All statistics are based on personal observations and review of video footage of each specific night dive. We would like to thank all contributors who make these statistics as complete and accurate as possible.  A Special Mahalo to Luke, David and Katie from Kona Diving Company as well as Jonathan from Big Island Divers.


•    The “TOP 3” Manta Rays of the year 2011 are:

     1. Koie Ray, she came to feed 208 times
     2. Kailey Ray, she was seen 183 times
     3. Blain Ray, he was seen 164 times

•    In 2011 we enjoyed 72 individual Manta Rays during the snorkel/dive activity at “Manta Heaven” and “Manta Village” (see Page 3).
In May 2011 we saw the highest number of different individuals at 51  (see Page 7).

•    Shirley Ray made it into the TOP 20, although she only started appearing in May of 2011. Check out Shirley’s video and see how beautiful it is to condition a new Manta Ray to be tolerant of the lights and bubbles. It would seem that as long as we don’t interfere with the Manta Rays feeding behavior, we will be able to condition more Mantas fairly easily.

•    We identified 8 new Manta Rays during the night activity in 2011:
Tim, Ripple, Ralphs’ Ray, Nick Ray (former Nicole Ray), Ke’kai’malu, J9, Independence Ray and Jana Ray.
All of them were small with a wingspan of 3-4 feet and are considered pups (see Page 3 and 4).

•    Jana Ray is definitely the stand-out of the afore-mentioned 8 Manta Rays. Jana Ray was identified as a pup in August of 2011 and made it to the No. 23 slot in only 3 months. We started seeing her at “Manta Village” in October and enjoyed observing her feed 36 times.

•    We want to point out something about Delaney Ray, Takahashi Ray and Spatter (see Page 3 and 4):

   - Delaney Ray was identified in August of 2008 and was not seen again until May of 2011. She was observed at “Manta Village” and “Manta Heaven” on a regular basis and was seen 43 times in 2011.

   -Takahashi Ray is also remarkable. He was named in June of 2008. We spotted him again after 3 years in March 2011. Since then, we have not seen him often, only intermittently.

   - Spatter was identified in 1992 (20 years ago!), but was not seen for many years until to our delight she re-appeared in April 2011 at Manta Village. She stayed around until July and came to feed 25 additional times.

•   Our 2011 statistics do not seem to support the belief that a full moon means no Manta Sightings (see Page 5).

•    Page 6 of our pdf file will show the overview of the ratio of possible charters and successful Manta Ray Sightings we had each month as well as the average number of individual Manta Rays.

  - “Manta Heaven” got skunked 39 times, “Manta Village” 34 times in 2011.

  - The probability of seeing at least one Manta Ray in 2011 was:
          Manta Heaven: 88 %         Manta Village: 88%
    Yes, this is correct – both dive sites had the same probability of an incredible 88%!

This is fantastic considering that we “work” with Marine Life and the ocean. Nowhere else in the world can you view these beautiful creatures in their natural environment on such a regular basis.

- The average number of individuals  at “Manta Heaven” was 7 and at “Manta Village” was 2 Manta Rays for 2011.

•   We kept track of occurrences when a Manta Ray swam the distance of approx. 14 miles between the dive site within a time frame of 24 – 96 hours (see Page 7).
16 Manta Rays went the distance and “Melainah Ray” is the “Traveler of the year 2011”. She moved up and down the coast almost every month; in January, May and August 3 times.
Koie Ray , Lefty and Vallaray also did their share of traversing their home range and using the night feeding areas to their advantage.

Can we conclude anything from these statistics?

The sheer number of Manta Rays observed, especially at “Manta Heaven”, seems to indicate that our resident population of Manta Rays is robust and healthy with the highest number of 35 individuals Manta Rays seen on May 12, 2011 (see page 5). We enjoyed Big Bertha bringing her pregnancy to term (see diary) in July 2011, and also discovered Teresa Ray's pregnancy in October 2011.

It is troubling, however, to see an increase in the number of injuries due to engagement with fishing tackle and injuries which suggest propeller strikes.
Kailey Ray in particular has had a rough year losing her cephalic fin as well as sporting various other injuries (see her before and after video here). You can also check on injuries and fishing hook accidents that Melainah Ray, Lisa Rae and Blain Ray had to deal with.

We hope you have enjoyed the presentation of this information. Once again, Mahalo to those that helped us compile this data. We are looking forward to doing this again for 2012.

With Aloha
Martina, Jim and Ryan