Spent a day out on the water with China Mike owner of Sunlight on water. All I can say is what a day!!! Mike is so knowledgeable having operated on the Kona Coast for I believe 30 to 40 years. He took us right to a Manta cleaning station that was just going off. I was able to photograph manta rays in the day for my first time ever and I have explored the Kona coast for 15 years and never got this experience before.
While in the water with the mantas we were joined by a large pod of dolphins. Unfortunately there was just too much separation between the dolphins and mantas to shoot them together. The dolphins were on the surface and the mantas were down at about 60 ft. After getting some great manta shots I went up to hang with the dolphins.
There was even a little baby albino dolphin I learned later had been named Casper. He was very curious to see me in the water Maybe because I am almost as white as he is. It was a beautiful site to have him swim by with his family and check me out.
There were too many dolphins to count as this was one of the larger pods I've seen. The dolphins were so mellow and as long as we didn't chase after them they were happy just swimming around us and checking us out.
As you will see in the photos below if you just stayed calm and allowed them to do as they pleased they would come in so close you could look them in the eye. I had many of them within a foot of me on many occasions.
Finally on the way back into the harbor we encountered a 12 foot Tiger Shark. I asked Mike if I could get in with it. At first he seemed a little reluctant but Mike has known me for a long time and knows my experience level. So after a brief pause I was told "grab your gear". I got in the water and swam a direct course to cut off the shark as it swam out of the harbor. I was able to get about 5ft from it as it swam by, but it wanted nothing to do with me and quickly headed out to sea. Unfortunately the harbor has a lot of fresh water that comes out of it and it mostly mixes at the harbor mouth. This mixing of fresh and salt water of different temperatures causes a blurry effect. This did not help my image but it was a great experience.
What a great day on the water with Sunlight on Water. I can't wait to join Mike again. Mike's knowledge of the coast, the marine life, and his sharing of the Hawaiian culture make for one of the best boat trips on the island.