Frank, the cherished moray eel

by | Apr 15, 2018 | Manta Rays in Hawaii, Swimming with Manta Rays

Today I want to introduce you to a “fellow” who is quite famous or maybe even infamous as he is a frequently-seen guest at the manta dive site by the airport. We are not sure about its gender, but we call him “Frank”, the undulated moray eel.

You might think right now, “Ewww… an eel!” Believe it or not, at the end of this post you (hopefully) will also think that he is a lovable creature as I can assure you that he has never harmed anyone.


Hawaii is the most isolated archipelago in the world which makes it an incredible place for rare fauna and flora. About 30% of what you see above and below the surface is endemic to Hawaii.

When you enter the ocean for diving or snorkeling during the day, you will be amazed by the sheer abundance and diversity of marine life right in front of you: butterfly fish, parrot fish, wrasses, surgeon fish, coral, dolphins, rays, whales etc. in all kind of colors, shapes and sizes.

Eels are also plentiful and here is a selection of the ones that inhabit the Hawaiian reefs:

When the night falls you can experience the “changing of the guards” on the reef, meaning the daytime fish start to hide and go to sleep and the “night crew” comes out.

Many eels are diurnal (day time) and nocturnal (night time) creatures including Frank, but over the years he figured out that the manta experience is a “cool” place to get food with little to no effort.


The manta ray night experience is a food-driven setup: Lights are turned on after the ocean turned dark, the lights attract plankton, the plankton attracts small fish (like goatfish, Hawaiian flag tails, needle nose fish and more), and plankton also attracts the manta rays and Frank, the Eel.

The image above shows two milk crates that dive companies set up with battery operated lights for the length of the dive… and Frank has been classically conditioned! He simply learned that sitting in the crate is an easy way to snatch a fish that hangs around the boxes. Perfect and easy dinner!

Unfortunately his eye sight is bad so he needs many attempts to be successful.

As a scuba diver, you are briefed that Frank hangs around and it is not uncommon to see him swimming over your shoulder, through your buoyancy control device (BCD), or between your legs!

Hard to believe, right?

Check this Frank moment caught on camera:

Rest assured: Frank has a clean record as not one customer has ever been bitten by him.

Over the years I shot many cool scenes with Frank and shared some juicy stuff on this latest FB live. Once you see it you will hopefully agree that he is harmless and also a lovable “guy”.

Do Mantas Feel Pain?


Hawaii made national news recently when an increased number of death occurred while snorkeling on Maui. We are big fans of the classical mask/snorkel combination versus the new trendy full face masks which prompted me to dive more into the issues that have occurred. Enjoy this FB live as it contains all kinds of tips on how to properly don the classic mask and snorkel.

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Sending loads of sunshine to you!



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