A journey to photograph manta rays in Yap yields surprising encounters with rare macro critters and circling sharks. Discover this wonderful dive destination.
The rare, and very shy, mandarinfish poses for a picture.
We had but a few days to dive in Yap. Even though our efforts to see mantas were not entirely successful, I still enjoyed my experiences exploring Yap's macro marine wonders, her sharky blue-water drop-offs and a rich and beautiful culture here in the land of stone money.
A RESORT FOR DIVERS
Welcoming us to Yap at the airport, our hostess Dina Limching recited her employer's credo: "The Manta Ray Bay Hotel is a resort for divers." When we arrived there, I found out why.
I felt right at home as soon as we pulled up to the resort. International dive club stickers and gorgeous underwater photographs adorn the reception area. The dive shop is 20 paces away, the restaurant overlooks the lagoon and the bar overlooks the ocean.
The manager of Yap Divers is Geof Loe, a sun-bleached, rough-hewn, ex-British military diver. He let us know about the resort's PADI courses, including the hallmark "Manta Ray Diver" course. It consists of lectures on the biology and photo techniques related to mantas, as well as two open-water dives guided by resort owner Bill Acker.
Bill is known as "Mr. Manta," a nickname earned from the years he spent diving with and studying the majestic creatures that bring divers from around the world to Yap.