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Out in the Pacific, dive with giant manta rays

Swimming with manta rays in Kona, Hawaii.

Darryl Leniuk for The Globe and Mail/darryl leniuk The Globe and Mail

What's the deal?

Get close to manta rays as they cruise overhead like stealth bombers.

Where's it at?

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Yap, a tiny atoll straddling the equator about 4,000 kilometres southwest of Hawaii, is known for one thing: manta rays. About 100 of the giant, bat-like fish, which average between three and four metres across, call Yap home. Unlike stingrays, mantas have no poisonous barbs and diving with them is perfectly safe. They can reach a maximum size of eight metres across and weigh up to 3,000 kilograms. Seeing one ranks near the top of most divers' wish lists.

Book on a trip with Yap Divers and head out to one of the popular "cleaning stations." While the mantas hang out, small fish swim in to consume parasites on their gills and wings, cleaning the rays and getting a quick meal in return.

Those wanting even more mantas can make a stopover en route in Kona, Hawaii, for a manta night dive. Here, bright lights are submerged to attract plankton, which attracts mantas. Kneel on the bottom and watch up to a dozen rays swoop overhead, hoovering up the tiny creatures. It gives new meaning to the phrase "late-night snack."

Who's it for?

Those who like manta rays and bragging about diving with them.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers (, Bottom Time Hawaii, Kona (

Special to The Globe and Mail

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