Hawaii Island Activities: Nighttime on the Water in Hawaii

By: Brian Berusch

January 15, 2014

Hot magma

Madame Pele””the Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes””hopefully gets a healthy check from the Hawaii Island tourism folks every month. For just over three decades she has commanded Kilauea volcano to spew out molten lava – making it one of the longest continuously active volcanoes known to man. Likewise, the consistent flow of lava has spawned a rather healthy stream of visitors, who come to see the “hot action” year-round.

Until recently, intrepid travellers and active types would make the journey to Volcanoes National Park to catch a glimpse of the liquidy red stuff off in the distance during long arduous hiking expeditions. Only a few high-rollers could cram into the limited number of tour helicopters for an aerial view”¦ formerly thought of as “the way” to see the lava flows without burning up the entire day.


Hawaii Island Activities

Lava Ocean Tour © Tor Johnson


Now, lava ocean tours are all the rage. Why not? Board a vessel at your preferred time of day – the best times are just before sunrise or at sunset – for the fireworks show of a lifetime. Each ocean tour guarantees the opportunity to see what none of the hikers could possibly get close enough to experience – up-close views of the molten lava dripping into the sea. You might even be treated to a lava explosion of colour and incredible light.


Hawaii Island Activities

Manta dive at nighttime © Kirk Lee Aeder


A little closer to shore – and a fair few degrees colder – is a different nighttime ocean experience that involves swimming with wild manta rays. Fairwind Big Island Ocean Guides has been taking underwater enthusiasts to the waters off Kona for years to swim safely with these giant creatures.


The guides can lure the rays to the surface of the water with special lights, which in turn bring them up close for human encounters. Once spotted, the playful, graceful creatures will swim, dive, turn and perform various acrobatic feats just centimetres from swimmers, all in a safe manner (mantas don’t have stingers or other barbed protrusions).


Hawaii Island Activities

Wing Ray swimming in the ocean © James L. Wing


Prior to the dive, Fairwind offers an on-land tutorial where guests can choose between snorkel gear and the full Scuba dive experience. An on-board videographer is also available for those looking to purchase a film of their nighttime adventure.


Partnering with Delta allows us to connect you to and from a selection of destinations across the United States and Canada, making it even simpler to book flights to Kona.


Have you experienced any of these Hawaii Island nighttime activities? Let us know in the comments below.


Written by Brian Berusch


Brian Berusch

Brian Berusch traded in his Manhattan gym membership for a quiver of surfboards, trail running shoes and a one-way ticket to Honolulu more than a decade ago. Since then, he’s interviewed dozens of celebrities and covered the destination for more than 25 travel and lifestyle magazines. He’s an award-winning Editorial Director, a Today Show correspondent and most recently the publisher of two new magazines. He has yet to “get barreled” in the perfect wave.

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