Our Blackwater night dive is a true Kona original - we helped invent it! Thanks to the underwater topography of the Island of Hawai'i, deep water isn't far from shore. We take our boat 2-3 miles offshore at night, in deep water, where a diurnal vertical migration occurs (meaning wild animals from the deep dark sea come to the surface). You'll have a chance to see various ctenophores, siphonophores, salps, larval-stage critters, squid, octopus, hunting dolphins, sharks, and sometimes things we can't even identify. We tether guests to a 50' line below the boat, supply you with a dive light, and the fun begins... If you aren't afraid of the dark, join us for one of the most wild dives on Earth. Photographers, this charter is a dream - and a true challenge. We recommend medium focal length macro lenses and cameras that have excellent autofocus in low-light conditions. Strobes are a must. Ask us about rental strobes and focus lights.
Open Water Certification, a minimum of 25 logged dives, and a prior night dive with our divemasters.
Check-in at the shop at 4pm. Meet the boat after the manta night dive at the harbor around 9:15pm.
Snacks, refreshments, towels, tanks, and weights.
BCD, regulator, mask, fins, wetsuit, and dive computer.Book Now
$169*Terms & Cancellation Policy
* Not inclusive of tax or gear.
To book a charter, please call our shop at 808-329-6068 or fill out the form below, and we'll be in touch!
Professional snorkel & dive guides, dive lights (for night dives only), snacks, drinks, dry towels, tanks, soft weights, and the best customer service in Hawaii!
Please remember to bring dry clothes and a jacket or sweatshirt for night charters, as the ride home can be chilly.
All reservations cancelled with at least 48 hours notice will not be charged.
Reservations cancelled with less than 48 hours notice will be charged the full cost of the charter, unless Big Island Divers is able to fill the seat(s) on the boat.
Lastly, all Charters require a minimum of 3 participants to go. While charters are rarely cancelled due to a lack of participants, Big Island Divers will make every effort to reschedule customers to another day or with another company.
SCUBA Diving and snorkeling are physical activities that require you to be able to swim and be in good physical health.
If you consider yourself overweight, or have any medical conditions, please consult with your doctor and complete the PADI Medical Waiver. Your doctor can advise you on the safety of these activities given your health.
If you are not an avid snorkeler, we suggest you first work on those skills before snorkeling at night on our manta charter, or on our more advanced morning dolphin charter. You will be in the ocean, and divers will be in water up to 40ft of depth. Our dolphin charter is in the open ocean and requires swimming skills.
If you are incapable of completing the charter, or we determine that in your and our best interest you do not go or allowed on the charter, we have the right to refuse services and still make applicable charges for the booking, at our discretion.
We require that all participants be able to understand and communicate in English for the safety of our other guests and crew. Please be advised that should we feel that we are unable to effectively communicate with a guest, we may not permit the guest to continue on the charter.
Manta rays, dolphins, whales, and other marine life are wild creatures and their presence is affected by surf conditions, seasonal changes and the quantity of food in the water. They are wild animals and we cannot guarantee their presence.
If you get ‘skunked’ and do not see manta rays, dolphins, or whales on your charter, our ‘No Manta Guarantee’ policy gives you a 50% discount on your next charter with us. We do not offer refunds for charters that do not see manta rays, dolphins, or whales.
Divers that have not dove within the last 2 years are strongly encouraged to take a refresher course, however we do not require a refresher to dive with us. Regardless of dive history or experience, we have a 10 minute time limit on your first decent – if you are unable to comfortably descend, we’ll ask you to sit the dive out and consider a refresher. Pricing for refresher courses is the same as adding a private divemaster to your charter – $200 plus the cost of your dives.
Our charters can be enjoyed by anyone age 10 and up who feels comfortable with mask, snorkel and the following guidelines (any exceptions require management approval).
Snorkeling and ride along participants that are under 18 years of age must be under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian on all charters, at all times.
Any scuba participant under 18 years of age, must be accompanied while on the vessel by their parent or guardian OR a minimum of 2 BID employees.
Our “minor divers” policy is that any diver 10-11 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and have a private divemaster on the charter ($200 per charter). Any Jr. Open Water Divers 10-14 years of age must be accompanied on the charter by their parent or guardian at all times and require a private divemaster or instructor ($100 per charter) at a ratio of no more than 2 divers to 1 divemaster. Any minor under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.
For private charters, we can accommodate guests under the age of 10. Please contact us for more information.
Open Water Divers 15-17 years of age require accompaniment by a parent and guardian, or private divemaster or instructor at a ratio of no more than 2 to 1 for the duration of the charter. If they are accompanied by a parent or guardian they may join the regular dive group. If the minor has to leave the regular dive group for any reason, they must be accompanied by their parent or guardian at all times.
Sign your dive waivers online and make check-in quick and easy.Sign Now
Increase your no-decompression limits with enriched air.More Info
Add-on a GoPro and record photo and video of your dive.See Prices
Traveling light? Our rental locker has everything you'll need.See Prices
Breathing Nitrox, or enriched air, allows you longer no-decompression limits.Get Certified
Nitrox is $12 per tank, available when booking your dive online.
Enjoy more control and stabilized footage with the new GoPro Hero 5. Divers can take this camera to 130'. 32GB SD card and float handle included. $49/day
Hero 5 paired with two 2,000 lumen video lights. The ideal setup for divers, and an excellent option to film the manta night dive. 32GB SD card, dive lights and tray included. $99/dayMore Info
Mask/Snorkel/Fins - $5
BCD - $10
Reg w/ Computer - $20
Wetsuit - $10
Premium Regulator - $25
Premium BCD - $15All Shore Rentals
Looking for Kona nightlife? This is your charter. Start by swimming with the mantas, then head offshore for epic blackwater action.More Info
Explore the less-frequented local dive sites offering a variety of environments and structures; from caves and lava-tubes to archways and cliff-like drop-offs. There are no students on the advanced charter, and all participants are required to have a minimum of 25 logged dives. Excellent for photographers and divers looking for a bit more challenging adventure.More Info
Expand your horizons with drift dives along the world renowned Red Hill area south of Kona, or Kua Bay to the north. Similar to the Advanced Charter, the Long Range is for more advanced SCUBA divers, with a required minimum 25 logged dives.More Info
Can I book online? Why can’t I book the manta dive online?
We ask you to call to book the manta and blackwater charters, due to dive prerequisites.
How long are the charters?
The Manta charter launch time varies seasonally between 4 and 6pm, and returns between 8:30 and 10pm.
What should I bring on the boat?
For night charters, we recommend bringing something warm for the ride home, as it gets chilly when dark. There are dry storage areas on each of our boats. If you’re bringing your own dive gear, our crew will set it up, but we recommend a mesh gear bag to keep everything organized. Cameras are allowed (and encouraged!) and we have freshwater rinse buckets. Ultimately, we recommend bringing as little as possible on the boat, as space can be limited.
What should I do if I’ve never snorkeled before? Can I still go on the manta snorkel?
For your safety, we aren’t able to take guests out on the open ocean for our snorkel charters without prior snorkeling and swimming experience. There are many places within 15-30 minutes of our dive shop that are ideal for snorkeling practice. We do rent full snorkel packages for you to practice. Just stop by the shop and we’ll get you set up.
How big are your boats? Do they have bathrooms?
We have several boats. Our largest two, the Honu Iki and Kahanuola are each 36’ dive & snorkel boats that can accommodate up to 22 guests. Our Middle boat is the Moana Olapa, a 35' dive & snorkel boat for up to 16 guests. The Moana Lu’u is a 29’ dive & snorkel boat for up to 11, and the Nai’a is a 27’ snorkel-only RIB for up to 12 guests. Our larger boats (the Iki and Kahanuola) have marine heads.
How do I get back on the boat?
All of our vessels have marine ladders that you climb to get back on the boat. If you are diving, you may remove your gear in the water and our crew will bring it aboard. On some of our boats, it is required that you remove your gear in the water.
May I check in for my charter earlier in the day?
Yup! Our shop is open from 8am to 6pm, every day. You can stop by anytime before your charter to check-in. For some morning charters, it is required that you check-in the day before. If you do check in between 10am-1pm, we offer a 10% discount on any merchandise in our retail shop.
If I’m staying in Waikaloa how long is the drive to Kona?
If you’re staying up north, the drive takes 45-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Certain times of day have particularly bad traffic, and the road to Kona is currently under construction. Please call us if you’re curious what drive time is like from other parts of the island.
How long is the boat ride?
Depending on which manta dive site we visit, the boat ride ranges from 20-45 minutes. For daytime charters, it depends on the dive site, but usually no more than 45 minutes one-way.
Can I check in at the boat, or do I need to come to the dive shop?
We require guests check-in at our shop for gear fitting, waivers, directions, etc.
Can I free dive during the manta ray snorkel?
Nope! Snorkelers stay flat on the surface, and divers hug the bottom. We give the middle of the water column to the manta rays. Freediving with these large animals is prohibited as it interferes with feeding and is potentially harmful to the manta rays.
What is the likelihood of seeing mantas? What happens if I don’t see any Mantas?
On average, we see manta rays about 85% of the time. They are, of course, wild creatures and no guarantees can be made for their presence. If you happen to join us on a night where we don’t see any manta rays, we are happy to offer you a 50% discount off of your next Manta Ray Night Charter with us.
Are the mantas dangerous?
Mantas do not have stingers or barbs. They cannot bite you and they are not poisonous. They are generally harmless creatures who use speed and agility as their primary defense mechanisms. That said, mantas are very large fish (sometimes weighing over 1000lbs) and can swim quite fast, so we always encourage giving mantas as much space and respect as possible. We absolutely do not allow any touching, chasing, or harassing of the manta rays or any other sea life.
Can I do the Manta Dive if I’m not certified?
For the safety and enjoyment of all participants we do not allow any non-certified guests to join us on SCUBA for the Manta Ray Night Dive. Non-certified guests are welcome to enjoy our Manta Ray Night Snorkel experience or to try a Discover SCUBA Lesson on our Local Morning Two Tank Charters.
How long am I in the water with the mantas?
On both the Manta Ray Night Dive and Snorkel you will spend about 50 minutes in the water with the rays.
Can I bring a camera? Do you rent cameras?
Big Island Divers does not rent GoPros or other camera equipment. You are welcome to bring and use your own camera on any of our charters. We ask that when using pole mounts with your underwater camera that you be respectful of sea life and do not touch, harass, or damage any animals or other marine life with your camera equipment.
How much should I tip?
If you enjoyed your time with us gratuities are greatly appreciated. Most guests leave around $20 per person.
How long do I need to wait before I go over Saddle Road / to Mauna Kea / Volcano Park / on an inter-island flight?
PADI’s recommendation for flying or driving to altitude after diving within the No-Decompression Limits (regular recreational diving) are: Single dives - A minimum pre-flight surface interval of 12 hours is suggested. Repetitive dives and/or multiple day dives - A minimum pre-flight surface interval of 18 hours is suggested.
How big are the dive groups?
Our divemasters lead groups of up to 7 divers when moored, and up to 6 divers when drift diving. Private divemasters are available.
Where will I be diving?
The Manta Ray Night Charter and Twilight / Manta Ray Night Charter takes place at Garden Eel Cove (northern Airport site) unless ocean conditions or Manta sightings dictate otherwise.
What if I can't find my dive card?
Proof of certification is required for all SCUBA dives- no exceptions. If you cannot find your dive card, we may be able to look up your certification in your dive agency's online database. Please call our shop directly to verify that we are able to locate your certification prior to your arrival. If you do not have your certification card, a photo ID will be required upon check-in or we are not able to allow you to dive.
How long are the dives?
The Manta Ray Night Dive spends 50 minutes underwater, depending on your air consumption.
Is the water rough?
Ocean conditions are unpredictable and can change quickly. Summer months tend bring warmer and calmer waters, while winter months can bring large northerly swells. If your charter is cancelled due to unsafe ocean conditions our staff will make our best efforts to reschedule you. You will not be charged for any charters cancelled by Big Island Divers due to weather. We do not cancel for rain showers.
Is the water cold?
During the summer months the water warms up to about 80-83 degrees F. In the winter months the ocean temperature cools down to 75-77 degrees F. Most of our guests are comfortable in a 3mm full wetsuit while diving, but we also offer 5mm full suits as well as 3mm springsuits in our rental locker.
Will I get seasick?
Even when ocean conditions are flat and calm you may still be susceptible to feelings of seasickness. In our experience, being on the water at night tends to enhance your sensitivity so if you are at all prone to motion sickness you may consider taking an anti-emetic such as Bonine or non-drowsy Dramamine before your charter.
Can I touch the mantas?
No. Manta rays are a protected species in Hawaii and we absolutely do not allow any touching, chasing, or harassing of the manta rays or any other sea life.
“I've wanted to do this for years and it was as amazing as I had hoped. We were in the water for 45-60 minutes, with mantas right beneath us nearly the whole time, gracefully looping and over and over, often coming within a foot (or closer!)”Read our reviews