Bill Acker Hosts TV Crew for Yap’s Mantas

Manta Ray Bay has often been the base for film crews.  We have just finished hosting an Australian TV crew called Kaufmann Productions .  They were here as part of a larger filming project which is concentrating on the four main manta hotspots around the globe, namely, Mexico, Maldives, Australia and of course Yap.  Yap has  recently been designated a manta sanctuary, which will thankfully help to protect the resident population of mantas from being hunted like they are in many areas of the world.   Speaking with Gisela Kaufmann, the team leader, she told me one of the reasons they came to Yap was purely down to the years of hard work Bill Acker has done working with these amazing creatures and helping to put them on the dive map.

Bill spent most of his days working with the crew, taking them to various dive sites such as Miil Channel, narrating to the camera and giving his observations over the years.  The crew managed to get some great manta footage; including the amazing mating ritual, where it is possible to see more than a dozen mantas circling in the water as part of their courtship ritual.  The crew also managed to get down Yap Day which was held this year in the municipality of Tamil to get some fantastic footage of Yapese culture in full swing.  Yap Day is a celebration of Yapese culture and draws visitors from around the world and is held every year on the 1 – 2 March.

Part of the filming team included Dr Kathy Townsend, the lead scientist with Project Manta in Australia.  Speaking with her she told me of her excitement of what they had filmed and potentially discovered in Yapese waters in respects to manta behavior.  She believes that Yap may be a manta nursery.  If this proves to be true, it will be one of the very few identified on the planet and will thus help us learn way more about these elusive gentle creatures.

When complete the documentary will be shown on leading European and Australian public television channels sometime in mid 2011.

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