FAQ about Diving Yap

Diving

What is the water temperature?
The water temperature is 82 F degrees (28 C degrees) all year round, warm enough to wear just a dive skin, Polartec, or 3mm neoprene suit.

What is the underwater visibility?
On our reefs and walls the visibility often exceeds 150 feet (50 meters) and can top 200 feet. The visibility in the channels for the manta dives range from 30 feet (10 meters) up to 100 feet (30 meters) with the average being about 50 to 60 feet (since the manta rays come so close to you, this is ample).

What is the range of diving depths?
Our Manta dives are anywhere from 20 to 70 feet deep (6 to 20 meters). Average depths for reef dives is 60-80 feet and our walls begin at 20 feet and plunge vertically to more than 400 feet.

Are there strong currents?
Occasional currents (mild to medium) in the channels for the manta dives are easy to navigate, since there are calm spots behind high coral heads and coral ridges. Mild currents occasionally occur on the outside walls, making them excellent for drift dives. Overall, Yap diving is easy and safe.

Are the coral reefs alive?
Our reefs are in phenomenal condition, almost pristine. We are blessed with some of the most beautiful coral formations in the Pacific - table corals the size of dinner tables, giant mounds of blue staghorn, golden elkhorn and giant brain corals. All formations are healthy and robust. We also have selections of soft corals in Mi’l Channel as well as the soft corals of Yellow Wall.

Any sign of coral bleaching?
El Niño has spared Yap and there is virtually no coral bleaching on Yap's reefs. The island of Yap is adjacent to one of the Pacific's deepest submarine trenches, providing the reefs with fresh, cool, clean water on a consistent basis.

What will I see on my dives?
Mantas, of course. Yap has the largest concentration of manta rays in the world, and they are easily accessible to divers. But, there is more than mantas - lots of sharks, schools of bigeye jacks, schools of blackfin barracudas, extremely colorful tropical reef fish, two species of sea turtles, tons of anemones and clownfish plus a tremendous variety of hard corals. If you are interested in extreme close-up photography, Yap offers an opportunity to photograph rare species such as the fire goby, leaffish, ghost pipefish, longnose filefish, seahorses, mandarinfish, shrimpfish, dragon wrasse and dozens of nudibranches.

How many dive sites does Yap have?
We have explored and charted over 50 spectacular dive sites and there is still over 50 miles of uncharted reefs and channels.

How does the diving compare with Palau?
The diving in Yap is different but equally as good. Yap offers the best opportunity to encounter, dive with and photograph manta rays. There is no better place in the world for this type of big animal diving. Yap also has a very wide selection of macro subjects not easily found in Palau. As a result of visits from most of the world's top underwater photo journalists, Yap is now rated as a world class diving destination.

Dive Trips

Are there dive boat trips in the morning?
We depart every morning for a two tank dive trip. The manta dive trips generally depart between 7 AM and 9 AM. Reef trips and wall dives depart between 8 AM and 10 AM. Third and fourth dives are available in the afternoon as well as a night dive.

How many tanks per trip?
2 tanks per trip are the norm but we certainly cater to our customers' desires. We can schedule 3 tank or 4 tank dive trips upon request.

Are there afternoon dives?
Yes a third and fourth dive is available. Our shark dives depart at 3 P.M. and are a one tank dive. We have found an excellent macro dive site for those of you who wish to find and photograph nudibranchs.

Are there night dives?
Yes, we conduct night dives any night of the week upon request. Night dives are generally one tank boat trips, no more than 5 to 15 minutes from the hotel. There are multiple sites for excellent night diving, including encounters with lionfish, octopus, Spanish dancers and other nocturnal creatures.

Are there shore dives?
Yap does not offer shore diving because the best channels, coral gardens and wall dives are more than a mile from shore. Yap's shoreline is mostly mangrove formations which provide the nutrients and nesting places for juvenile fish.

Is rental dive gear available?
Yes, we have a full line of ScubaPro rental gear that is completely renewed each November, thus assuring you of new state of the art dive gear. We also offer dive skins and computers.

Is NITROX available?
Yes, Yap Divers has a state of the art membrane system and NITROX is available for all dives.

What about Rebreathers?
We do not have rebreathers available for rent but we do allow rebreathers and we do support them with O2 and with a limited supply of soda lime.

How many dive boats are available?
Yap Divers owns and operates 7 custom designed dive boats. These vessels have been designed and equipped specifically for diving and contain all of the equipment to make your trip comfortable and safe.

How many divers per boat?
A maximum of 8 divers per boat is our norm. We can accommodate larger numbers for groups and we have the finest dive boat in Micronesia - Popou capable of carrying up to 22 divers.

Can non-divers come on the boat?
They are more than welcome. Spouses and family members often accompany our diving guests, making the overall experience more enjoyable.

Can snorkelers come on dive boats?
Again, snorkelers are more than welcome. Most dive sites offer the opportunity to snorkel and scuba at the same site. Our vertical walls and channels often rise to within a few feet of the surface.

Are there special snorkeling trips?
Yes, Yap Diver's offers dedicated snorkeling trips to the best snorkeling areas. These trips depart both in the morning and the afternoon and include a personal guide.

What time do you get back from the morning dive?
Morning dive trips return between noon and 1 P.M..

Is lunch served on the boat or at the resort?
On the boat you have a generous snack consisting of fresh baked pastries and fruit, as well as hot tea and ice water. Lunch is available at the resort.

What time does the afternoon trip depart?
The afternoon trips depart between 2:30 and 3:30 P.M.. All trips return in time for dinner or a night dive.

How close are the boats to the Hotel?
The boats are at the hotel and it is as easy to get to the dive boats as it is to get to breakfast.

Is there shade on the boats?
Every one of our boats are completely shaded and have custom built dive ladders for easy entry and exit.

What safety equipment is on the dive boats?
All of our boats have first aid kits, DAN O2 kits, flares and VHF radios. Our boats have twin engines and we have switched to environmentally friendly 4 stroke engines. These new engines are fuel efficient, quite and do not burn oil so there is none of the oily smell associated with most dive boats.

Are weight belts available?
Yes, weights and belts are provided by Yap Divers. We have belts in a wide range of sizes and weights in 2,3 and 4 pound (1 to 2 kilo) increments.

What size scuba tanks are used?
We use 80 cubic foot aluminum tanks and we have 63 cubic foot tanks available for guests desiring lighter or shorter tanks. All of the tanks are regularly inspected and hydrostatically tested.

Dive Center

Where is the dive center located?
The dive center is on the hotel premises within a few steps of the lobby and guest rooms. For those not staying at Manta Ray Bay, we offer complimentary transportation in our air-conditioned vans.

What time does the dive center open in the morning?
Generally 6 AM or one hour before the departure time of the first dive trip.

What time does the dive center close?
10:00 P.M. is closing time but the dive shop manager lives on the premises and is available 24 hours a day, if needed.

Is there storage for my personal gear?
Yes there is a private locker for every diver located within feet of the dive boats.

Does the staff speak English?
All our staff members are fluent in English (some crew members also speak German, French and Japanese).

Does the dive center cater to photographers?
Yes, we have 6 custom built “camera hotels” with locked storage so that you don’t have to take your cameras to your room, lighted work areas, charging stations for strobes and batteries with both U.S. standard 110 volt/60 as well as European plugs with 220 volt power, padded work area so that gear doesn’t roll, clean air to dry cameras and strobes as well as magnifying glasses for close work.

Is there a place to wash my dive gear?
Extra deep tiled and lighted rinse tanks are adjacent to the dive dock and within feet of the gear storage area. The tanks are drained and refilled with fresh water several times daily. We have separate rinse tanks exclusive for photo gear.

Is there dive instruction offered?
Yap Divers, as both a PADI 5-Star Dive Center and PADI Gold Palm Resort offers a full range of dive courses, including a manta awareness course and NITROX specialties. We also offer Discover Scuba courses for non divers who are interested in sampling this aquatic adventure.

Are the instructors certified?
All our instructors are fully PADI certified for basic, advanced and NITROX training.

The Resort

Where is the resort located?
The resort is on the waterfront in the heart of Colonia, Yap's main town. It is a short 10 minute ride from the airport and within walking distance of many shops, snack bars/restaurants, post office and banks.

Is it close to the water?
The hotel is on the waterfront, overlooking a picturesque bay. Guests are greeted with a spectacular morning sunrise and a glassy calm sea.

Is there a beach?
There is no beach at the hotel but Yap has secluded beaches. Transportation to the beaches, picnics and snorkeling opportunities are provided by the Manta Ray Bay Resort.

Is there a boat dock?
Yes there is a boat dock on the resort premises, within a few steps of the lobby and dive center.

Is there a restaurant with the Resort?
Our Manta Ray Restaurant is located on the main deck of Mnuw and offers an excellent view of the harbor.
Meals, from the same menu, are also served in the Nautical Weaver Bar located on the Bridge Deck of the Mnuw and/or the Crow’s Nest on the top deck.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily.
The food is inspired by Asian, Local and European recipes with generous portions which are both wholesome and delicious.

What time does the restaurant open in the morning?
As this is a dive resort, the restaurant opens at 6 AM. Fresh baked pastries, hot coffee and a complete breakfast menu are available from that time. The restaurant specializes in pancakes, waffles, omelets and fresh fruit in the mornings.

What time does the restaurant close?
The kitchen closes at 9:30 P.M. (unless we have divers running late in which case we wait on them) and the bar normally closes about 11:00 P.M. but will remain open for our guests as needed.

Are the rooms air-conditioned?
Yes, all rooms are fully air-conditioned, as is a portion of the restaurant, the lobby and gift shop.

Are there telephones in the rooms?
Yes, all of our rooms have Direct Dial International service.

Is there Internet access?

Yes, each guest room has Internet access available 24/7. You will need to obtain a network cable from the Front Desk to connect. Once an account is established in your room, you are then free to move around the resort using our wireless access. This is wonderful on the Mnuw and by the pool.

Can I drink the water?
Yes, we have our own water filtration system and the water is drinkable from the taps in any of the rooms and at the dive center.

Is there a TV in the room?
Yes, all rooms have color TV's with DVD players however there is no local stations available at the resort. The TV’s are used for watching your dive video or rented DVD’s available at the front desk or from numerous video shops on the island.

How big are the rooms?
Our rooms are oversized (350 – almost 500 square feet) and each room has a unique layout. All of our rooms have tiled floors, ceiling fans, air-conditioning, built-in hair dryers, spacious showers and comfortable beds.

Is there a swimming pool?
Yes, we have a wonderful fresh water infinity pool complete with 2 life size stone manta rays on the bottom and a unique waterfall along one wall.

Does the Hotel provide towels for diving?
Yes towels are put on the boat prior to departure and kept dry until needed.

What other activities are available, besides diving?
We offer eco kayak tours, hiking, cultural tours, land tours, deep sea fishing, traditional sailing canoe trips and an in-house spa.

The Island

Where is Yap?
Yap is located in the Southwestern corner of Micronesia. It lies between Palau (360 miles) and Guam (550 miles), approximately 600 miles East of the Philippines. One side of Yap is bordered by the Pacific Ocean while the other side borders the Philippine Sea.

How big is the island?
Yap actually consists of 4 major islands linked by road. The cluster is shaped like a kite and is 17 miles long by 6 miles wide, at the widest point.
The land mass is 39 square miles, ringed by mangrove shoreline, protected lagoons, secluded beaches and a coral barrier reef.

What airline do I take?
Yap is served 3 times weekly from Guam (direct, non-stop flights) and 3 times weekly from Palau (direct, non-stop flights) by Continental Airlines using new 737-900 jet aircraft.

How long does it take to get there?
>From Guam it is 1 hour and 15 minutes and 45 minutes from Palau.

Do the islanders speak English?
Yes, everybody on Yap speaks English. Since the end of World War Two, Yap has been part of the U.S. Trust Territory (until gaining independence 20 years ago). English has been taught in the Yap school system and the islanders are at least bi-lingual.

What kind of money ( currency) do I need?
The U.S. dollar is the official currency of Yap. We recommend that International visitors bring U.S. dollars prior to entering Yap. The Bank of Guam will offer an ATM machine when it opens it’s Yap branch in August 2009.

Are credit cards accepted in Yap?
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and JCB cards are accepted at the Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers for all purchases and services.

Should I rent a car?
Car rentals are available but not necessary. The resort is centrally located close to good shopping and the other amenities in town. If you would prefer a rental car, the Manta Ray staff will be happy to make the necessary arrangements for you.

Are taxis available?
Yes, taxis are plentiful and inexpensive.

How far is it from the hotel to town?
The hotel is located within easy walking distance of the town's food stores, banks and gift shops.

Is there shopping?
A wide variety of shops can be found in town, offering all sorts of merchandise and souvenirs.

Are there island handicrafts?
Yes, Yap has several very gifted artists who specialize in wood and stone sculptures, island weaving, as well as original paintings. Much of their work is focused on ocean creatures such as manta rays, dolphins and sharks. They also produce pictures and carvings representative of the Yapese culture.

How safe is the island?
Yap is extremely safe. The island has practically no crime. By nature the Yapese people are cordial, friendly and honest.

Can I plug-in my electrical appliances?
Yes, Yap uses the same electrical standards as the USA (110 Volt, 60 cycles). All electric outlets are American style. International visitors should bring plug adapters to convert to their appliances. 220 and 240 voltage is available for International visitors using this power system.

Are there any cultural tours?
Very much so. The Yapese culture dates back more than 1000 years and has remained intact down through the generations. Yap is the only society in the world to use money carved from stone. These stone disks can range in size from 12 inches to 14 feet in diameter.
Cultural tours to island villages are considered one of the highlights of a Yap vacation. Two cultural tours are scheduled weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays), with visits to island villages, stone money banks and men's houses. Activities include traditional Yapese dances, sampling local foods and fruits and shopping for cultural handicrafts.

Email bill@mantaray.com for free travel and flight help