Today saw the first day’s training in the kitchen on board the Mnuw, our 100 year old floating restaurant moored by the Manta Ray Bay Resort. The reason for the training you might ask? Well, we are in the process of totally overhauling our menu and putting into place something that is exciting, fresh, tantalizing and unique for the island of Yap. Not only will we be offering the best diving in Yap, but also the best dining.
In the kitchen today Bill held two training sessions for all the staff on how to make the perfect fish taco. I was there to sample one…well ok two or three and they tasted damn good. I’m sure it was down to all the years of his legendary Texas BBQs! The aim of changing the menu is to get good tasty food to our guests fast and to satisfy hungers that diving the great sites of Yap can only give you.
The sort of dishes you can expect to see on the new menu are, gourmet sandwiches, wide range of tacos, fish dishes, including catch of the day, our great appetizers (which we are keeping). We will be offering good sized burgers, all made from 100% Angus beef, with a tasty selection of toppings. We will of course have our pizza menu. We have increased our selection of desserts too, so there will be something to please those with a sweet tooth!
Keep checking our blog for notification of the final menu and launch date. So now there is another reason to come visit us here in Micronesia.
Here I am, at the Manta Ray Bay Resort on the island of Yap in the Pacific region known as Micronesia. After a long journey from French Polynesia, my video equipment and I have arrived safely. I had just enough time to set up my diving and video equipment, when Yap Divers announced a Shark Dive. Yessss, I thought …that is the right way to start my new job as a photo/video pro at Manta Visions. I was very excited to meet up with the local shark population for the first time and was wondering how many sharks we will see and how close I can get to them. You know, …I have done more than a thousand shark dives before and honestly I thought it will be hard to impress me.
So how was it, you ask?
As a warm-up Bill Acker, owner/operator of the resort, brought down a basket of fish carcasses and placed it in a crevice in the coral at a depth of 10 meters (30+ feet). The sharks, mostly grey reef sharks with a few blacktip reef sharks in the midst, smelled the bait but couldn’t get it. They stayed really cool and the divers, …among them several photographers, had time to find a good place for taking their desired pictures. The less experienced divers got time to get used to the presence of the sharks. I started to love them from the first minute. It was really easy to get close and they almost posed for us. My camera was rolling and rolling, …didn’t dare switch it off so I would not miss a scene. It was just beautiful, the light was perfect and the water extremely clear.
After 10 minutes or so Bill, with the help of a couple of the Yap Diver’s dive guides, brought down a large ball of frozen chum attached to a line and float so that the “chumcicle” stayed in mid-water. This time the sharks got a bit more excited as they could actually get to the food source. Still, the entire feed was very controlled and the sharks were just interested in the chum and ignored the divers. Ok, ok, …some sharks were a little more interested in cameras and strobes but isn’t that what we were looking for? “Come a little closer baby …..c’mon gimme a smile …” and they did!
To get the feeling you have to be here of course, …even the best pictures cannot make up for the real thing. So I hope to see you in Yap soon so I can introduce you to my new friends.
We were fortunate to have our good friend, Mr. Ken Kurtis from Hollywood, California back in Yap recently. This was Ken’s 6th visit and he brought several of his best customers with him. Here is an excerpt from his latest newsletter:
We had a great week (ten days actually with all the travel time) diving in Yap. Warm water, great weather (the only rain we saw – except for the final day there when we weren’t diving – was always between midnight and 6AM), wonderful animal encounters, fantastic friends at Manta Ray Bay Hotel (still my favorite diving resort in the whole world), and a good time was had by all.
Here’s an easy way of thinking about how special Yap is by looking at these four images from our dives on Thursday:
Dive 1 – Valley of the Rays @ 10:11AM:
Dive 2 – Vertigo shark feed @ 11:46AM:
Dive 3 – Gilman Wall @ 2:18PM
Dive 4 – O’Keefe Island @ 7:50PM
This is a collection of animals that most divers would be happy to see over the course of an entire week. We saw them in a space of less than nine hours on a single day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You’ve got to go to Yap.
I’ll be working on the trip report and the pictures (and maybe a video too) and will send those to you separately, hopefully towards the end of the week. In the meantime, here are a dozen more images from our wonderful week in Yap: This Week (in pictures) at Reef Seekers.
© 2010 Reef Seekers Dive Co. All Rights Reserved.
The crew of Yap Divers spent this morning with several of our guests, including Ken Kurtis of Reef Seekers Dive Company in Hollywood, California, our webmaster Dustin Macdonald, the Captain of the Spanish owned sailing yacht – Never Say Never, currently moored off from the Manta Ray Bay Resort and several local residents of Yap. What were we doing you might well ask?
We were all watching the finals of the World Cup Football, soccer to us Yanks, between Spain and the Netherlands. We projected the game on to the big screen on the S/V Mnuw and sat around drinking fresh brewed coffee while the match was played out. The sun came up just as regulation time was ending so we moved downstairs into the Nautical Weaver lounge and showed the overtime period. I am not sure there is a better setting in the world for watching live sports than the Crow’s Nest as a full moon is rising or in our case, the sun was coming up.
Our group was evenly split between rooting for Spain and/or Holland. As a result of Spain’s 1 to 0 overtime win, Fredy, our Swiss brew meister is telling everyone that Switzerland is co-champion as a result of their opening game defeat of the Spanish.
Needless to say, it was a good morning and after breakfast, 4 dive boats departed for various locations around the island. The seas are very calm, the water is clear and the boat that I was on saw over 20 sharks including white tip, black tip, grey reef and a rare sighting of a zebra shark.
ab dem 1. Juli wird Profi-Filmer Peter Schneider die Leitung von Manta Visions, dem
Video- und Foto-Center des Manta Ray Bay Resorts, übernehmen.
Ambitionierten Filmern und Fotografen ist sein Name sicherlich ein Begriff: Nachdem
der gebürtige Berliner zwölf Jahre lang für das Deutsche Fernsehen gearbeitet hatte,
ging er für neun Jahre nach Rangiroa/Französisch-Polynesien und produzierte
spektakuläre Über- und Unterwassersequenzen, die von National Geogaphic TV,
Dicovery Channel und diversen anderen renommierten Sendern weltweit mit offenen
Armen angenommen wurden.
Einige Highlights seiner bisherigen Karriere bilden die Zusammenarbeit mit Christian
Petron (Haus-Filmer für den Kultregisseur Luc Besson, u.A. „Die Tiefe“, „Atlantis“), der
prämierte Film „Sharks of Rangiroa, from Legend to Reality“ – ein Manifest gegen die
Hai-Fischerei in der Südsee, das tatsächlich ein gesetzliches Fangverbot nach sich zog
– oder etwa eine Sequenz, die nicht nur die Mating-Tänze von Mantarochen, sondern
erstmals in freier Wildbahn auch die Paarung der „fliegenden Teppiche“ eingefangen
Gemessen an seiner Liebe zu Mantas und Haien – soviel lässt sich wohl schon vorab
sagen – hat sich Peter Schneider mit Yap sicher für die richtige Destination
Der Tauchlehrer und Video-Instructor wird im Rahmen seines neuen Engagements
nicht nur unseren fotografierenden und filmenden Gästen mit Rat und Tat beiseite
stehen und für alle anderen auf Wunsch Erinnerungsvideos produzieren.
Bill Acker, Jan Sledsens und Team freuen sich jetzt schon auf spannende
Unterwasserfilme, die spätestens ab unserem Foto- und Filmwettbewerb Manta Fest
(4.-14. September, mantafest.com) allabendlich über die Großleinwand unseres
Restaurantschiffs Mnuw flimmern werden.
WWII Memorial to be dedicated on Pacific Island of Yap
Yap Island, FSM, June 12th, 2010: The Yap Visitors Bureau (YVB) and the Missing Air Crew Project (MACP) announce the dedication of one of the most unique World War II memorials in the Pacific. The newly constructed site displays the wreckage of a plane flown by Ens. Joseph Cox (from Idaho) and will be dedicated July 27th, symbolizing the tremendous sacrifice and loss of human life near this Pacific Island during WWII. The YVB and MACP have been working together for several years to preserve and remember this very special group of soldiers.
In the historical context of WWII and the Pacific theatre, American losses near Yap (now part of the Federated States of Micronesia) were substantial yet continue to be overlooked even today. Strategically located between the Philippines and Guam, Japanese occupied Yap was targeted almost daily from June of 1944 to August of 1945 at the cost of hundreds of American men, 110 of which remain classified as missing in action (MIA). Pat Ranfranz (from Cameron, WI), founder of the MACP has spent over 20 years researching Yap during WWII and the stories behind each soldier and his mission, hoping to preserve their memories for generations to come. Pat’s uncle is among the soldiers that remain MIA.
The memorial to be dedicated on July 27th displays the actual wreckage of an F6F-5 Hellcat flown by Ens. Joseph Cox, one of 36 planes American planes that fell near the island. Joseph’s plane was shot down with three other Hellcats from the USS Enterprise on September 6, 1944 and was only recently recovered moderately intact. “It is truly one of the most unique wrecks and now memorials in the Pacific,” explains Pat. “After the war, most of the wreckage throughout the world was picked over and removed. Fortunately in this case, the Yapese have respected the wreckages as grave sites and taken care to preserve them and remember the American men who lost their lives during the war.” Joseph’s plane was spared from the expanding Yap landfill in 2008 and relocated to government held land. Displayed on a concrete pad next to an all-weather sign and memorial marker describing the man, the plane, and the mission, the YVB together with the MACP were able to construct one of the finest memorials to American men lost in WWII’s Pacific theatre.
Pat Ranfranz is extremely grateful for the work that has been done to make the memorial come together. “This would not have been possible without the work done by the people of Yap and the Yap Visitors Bureau to save and preserve the American crash sites and wreckages that remained after the war. Too many people have forgotten the men who gave their lives for our freedom during WWII. This memorial and others on Yap Island will help to immortalize the forgotten and bring meaning to their sacrifices.” Attending the dedication will be Yap Governor Sebastian Anefal, US Ambassador Peter A. Prahar and other dignitaries along with the 90 year old brother of the pilot, Ellis Cox of Idaho.
The memorial dedication, open to the press, will take place from 2-4pm near the Public Works building on the Island of Yap. Please contact the YVB for assistance if your organization would like to attend. Both Pat Ranfranz and representatives from the YVB are available for interviews between now and July (see the contact information at the top of this release). Pat Ranfranz will also be available in Tokyo July 19-20th and Guam July 20th while traveling to Yap. For more information about the memorial dedication and Missing Air Crew Project, visit: https://www.missingaircrew.com or https://www.mantaray.com.
Peter A. Prahar, U.S. Ambassador, Federated States of Micronesia standing in front of the Ens. Joseph Cox F6F-5 Hellcat Memorial on Yap Island.
Patrick Ranfranz stands next to the Ens. Joseph Cox F6F-5 Hellcat wreckage after it was saved.
Missing Air Crew Project
Tel: (715) 458-0020
Cell: (612) 282-5624
Manta Ray Bay Resort
Fax: (691)350-4567 or 3841