Pro: boat captain & snorkel guide were friendly & knowledgeable. Educational session prior to launch was unexpected but well done and appreciated - we learned a lot about mantas!
Pro: The ocean was beautiful at night! Seeing the divers below with all the lights, the bubble walls, the fish -- all great. This was a chance to see the ocean in a way we've never experienced it before.
Con: check-in is at a different place than launch, and it felt rushed and confusing. Staff not helpful at all in dealing with iPad check in form issues, and impatient with questions about gear (we were bringing some of our own, and using some of theirs, and it was not clear what pieces they were providing or what they were/weren't bringing to the boat for us, and the staff seemed impatient with my questions clarifying this).
Con: The guide didn't spin our raft around, so the whole time the light that attracts the mantas was behind me. You can't let go of the raft to turn around, so it was difficult to see. It would have been nice to get a chance to better see what the people on the other side of the raft were seeing with ease.
Heads up: it's really cold! You just hold on, for 30-45 minutes, so there is not body movement to generate heat. We are used to cold water, but without being able to move around (you can't kick or move your arms, because it creates problems with the raft) you are just really cold the whole time. Be mentally prepared for that. Also, the mantas didn't show well for us that night. In the 45 minutes or so we were in the water, we saw 3 or 4, for a few seconds, from about 30 or 40 feet away. And, they were behind me, so difficult to see. I know the tour guides have no control over whether they show or not, so that's certainly not the tour's fault. But so that you get the most out of the experience, it might be best to think of this as a chance to snorkel and see the ocean lit up at night (really cool!)....with a possibility of seeing mantas.
Bottom line: This was a fairly well run operation, with a good amount of education to the participants about the beautiful creatures we were hoping to see. Captain, snorkel guides were friendly and professional. The ocean lit up at night was beautiful, and the bubble walls and schools of fish were fun to see. Don't think I'd go again, but glad we did it.
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