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If I'm being honest, the water terrifies me! I love the look of the ocean, and I love laying on the beach, or kayaking along the coast, but I actually hate getting into the water.  Something about feeling like control is taken from me and having fish touch me - no, no, no.  Now, this hasn't ever stopped me from getting into the water - I've snorkeled all over the world...but I don't necessarily enjoy it.

When they told us that we were going to do a night snorkel with giant manta rays, I almost peed a little.  We were told we were going to suit up, hop into the water in the pitch black of night, and shine lights that would attract manta rays with 20 foot wing spans to come and brush against us as they fed.  Nothing about this sounded good, but I'm not one to turn down a challenge.  So...we suited up
Getting ready to go night snorkling!
Getting ready to go night snorkling! (Erin Correia)

and headed out to the sea.  What happened next is one of my favorite experiences I have ever had! 
We were split up into groups and we jumped into the water and held on to floating surfboards with lights coming out of them
Night snorkel!
Night snorkel! (Erin Correia)

The lights shone into the water, and attracted plankton.  As the plankton gathered in the light, giant - and I mean GIANT - manta rays would swim right for us, barrel roll against us and eat the plankton!
Manta Ray!
Manta Ray! (Erin Correia)
Manta Ray!
Manta Ray! (Erin Correia)

While their mouths look HUGE, the actual opening that food can enter is tiny, and they don't have teeth, so there is no way they can hurt you - but that doesn't stop the experience from being a bit overwhelming
Manta Ray!
Manta Ray! (Erin Correia)
Manta Ray!
Manta Ray! (Erin Correia)
Manta Ray!
Manta Ray! (Erin Correia)

The water was chilly and it was raining, so many people only lasted through the first few minutes of the feeding and then headed back.  Kepler and I stayed in the water, absolutely in awe of the experience, until time was up - and knowing my fear of the water (and a bit of the dark as well), that says something about how incredible this experience truly was!

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