Yap: A South Pacific Paradise

03.08.2015 06:55
Kategorie: News

Getting Up Close And Personal With Residents Of The Reef

Manta Ray, Yap - © Daniel Brinckmann
If Paradise exists on Earth, it must be nestled right here in Yap in the South Pacific, under these endless skies, magnificent cliffs... and let's not forget the crystal blue waters of the reef. This is where thousands of manta rays, sharks and other big fish swim alongside barracuda, mandarinfish, tuna and turtles. And of course, dolphins and whales do make an appearance ever so often.

Hands down, Yap is definitely one of the best diving destinations in the world.

Located about 2,000 kilometres east of the Philippines, Yap is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia, with about 145 islets. Here, the main islands have been developed for tourism. (Well, sort of ? on this 56 sq km2 conglomerate, there are just a little more than a hundred hotel rooms altogether.

Away from the 3,000-strong town of Colonia and the well-developed coastal roads, there are only a few isolated villages connected by centuries-old stone paths in the jungle. More than eighty percent of Yap's coast comprise dense mangrove forest, so exploring by kayak is a “must”(don't forget an experienced local guide is advisable).

Sharks, sharks, sharks... © Angelika Heinrichs, Taucher.Net
Worldwide, the population of manta rays and sharks are plummeting. Yet, the opposite is true in Yap. Five years ago, Yap was declared a manta ray sanctuary, spanning 1,100 kilometres from east to west, and 350 kilometres from north to south. This declaration has benefitted not only manta rays, but the other marine animals that live in these waters.

Encounters with the residents of the reef are more likely here than in most other places. As long as there are no violent westerly winds, sharks can be found at all times. In the spring, there are regular sightings of offshore and deepwater species such as silky sharks and silvertip sharks. And, at the outer reefs and Vertigo dive site, gray reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks and blacktip sharks are standard fare.

Between early November and mid-May, encounters with Yap's curious manta rays are virtually guaranteed. In fact, the popular Manta Ray Bay Resort provides a special dive package based on the promise that if divers do not see manta rays during their dive, they would receive a refund on their trip.

To get to Yap, divers can take a United Airlines flight from Guam (on Tuesdays and Saturdays) and from Palau (on Saturdays). For the benefit of his guests, Bill Acker, owner of Manta Ray Bay Resort, has collaborated with the airline to offer them cheaper tickets. “If someone is interested in a trip to Yap or air tickets for short-haul needs, I am happy to help. Just contact me.” he said.

Link: www.mantaray.com  /  Search SSI Divecenters in Micronesia