IN EARLY February I was a guest of UnCruise Adventures on their Hawaiian Seascapes tour — 7 nights aboard the Safari Explorer (max 36 guests but there were only 24 on this trip), boarding on Molokai and hitting up Lana’i, Maui, and the big island along the way. Most of the time was spent on and in the water, including this amazing experience night snorkeling with Giant Pacific Manta Rays. Before heading out we were briefed by the dive company — they take protocols very seriously as the area that this is done in (right off the coast near the Kona airport) is a conservation area. We were taught to not touch the manta rays if they got close enough as they have a protective mucus coating on them and touching them can damage it, leaving them susceptible to infection. It was a very surreal experience seeing these huge “flying” creatures right below us.

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