Kona Honu divers
In Hawaiian, ohana means family, and from the moment you board one of Kona Honu's boats, you become part of owners Glenn and Maggie Anderson's family.
It's a happy family. One thing about the dive experience on Kona Honu's expansive 46-foot boat is that the divemasters and captains love the dive life and truly enjoy sharing the blue wonderlands off Kona. They take care of your gear, swap out your tanks and play cool music between dives.
I was recently with Kona Honu for what they've embraced as their signature dive experience: the Manta Ray Night Dive. Although other shops also visit this site, I can see why Kona Honu incorporates it, too:There's nothing like it in the world.
Several nights a week, just south of the airport at a site called Garden Eel Cove, the Kona Honu dive boat heads out of Honokohau Harbor just as the sun is slipping over the horizon and setting off the daily light show understatedly called "sunset."
The divemaster sets powerful lights on the seafloor, pointing straight to the surface. Almost as soon as the lights are turned on, clouds of plankton begin swirling in the beams. For mantas, this is akin to ringing a dinner bell, pulling the winged giants to the feast.
Divers form a circle around the main light and soon the beams from their own dive lights fill with manta appetizers. When the mantas make their appearance, they almost seem to materialize from the dark water itself into the very definition of elegance. I've been in the water here with as many as 10 mantas, with wingspans from six to 12 feet, watching in awe until dwindling air forced me from the water. The mantas tumble, twirl and loop-the-loop through the mass of plankton, passing so close that you can see every detail of their skin, and even right into their open mouths. Being in the water with these majestic animals reminds me just how lucky I am to be a diver, and how lucky I am to be in one of the world's ultimate ohanas.