Bill Acker’s Scuba Safari heads to Yap’s Yap Caverns!

Last Thursday saw Popou full with another group of intrepid divers heading out with Bill to explore some wonderful dive sites in Yap.  This trip out we headed to the south of the island to two of my favorite dive sites, namely Yap Caverns and Cabbage Patch.

The visibility was excellent at the Yap Caverns and we had very little current so the swim throughs were very easy.  This dive produced some great marine life for us all to photograph.  We had octopus, lion fish, three leaf fish and a very colorful mantis shrimp as well as a few passing white tips.

The surface interval offered a great opportunity to check out each other’s pictures whilst having some delicious banana bread washed down with a cup of tea. We spent a fun hour telling stories and having some really good banter back and forth.

The short journey up to Cabbage Patch gave us time to suit up for the next dive.  Cabbage Patch is a large expanse of hard coral mainly pachyseris speciosa, which offers a chance to spot some lovely nudibranchs which we only ever find at this site called chelidonura inornata.  This particular dive gave us an abundance of bump head parrot fish as well.

The guests on this trip out were Ron Lane, Birmingham, UK; Rob Reid, Birmingham UK; Julie Quickfall & David Williams, Somerset, UK; Brian Smith, California, USA; Peter Schmidt & Martina Sebastian, Schonerfeld, Germany; Kurt Fehr, Lenzburg, Switzerland Rudolf Argay, Basel, Switzerland.  Also joining on the dive boat were Bill’s two daughters Numie and Valerie.  Boat captain was Igy and Alex helped Bill out by being assistant dive guide.

Check out our blog next week for the next safari…


Peter Schneider – Manta Visions’ New Photo Pro

Peter2Peter Schneider, originally from Berlin, Germany is our new Manta Visions Video  & Photo Pro.  Peter is  a true professional in his field having worked for 12 years in German television, before  moving  to French Polynesia to create his own company – Underwatercam.  In the 9 years he lived and worked  on the atoll of Rangiroa, Peter  spent more than 4000 hours with his cameras submerged.

Many of the images he brought to the surface, were used for international TV productions such as National Geographic TV,  Discovery Channel and  different European channels.  One of the highlights of his career came when award winning underwater cinematographer Christian Petron asked Peter to work with him. Christian was the leading cinematographer for Luc Besson on the films “ The Big Blue” and “Atlantis”  as well as many other films you might have seen.

pet-hdw700On the last project the two worked together in 2009/2010, Peter was also the topside high definition (HD) broadcast camera operator.  You want more info on that project?  Pssst, this is still top secret, … but here is a short sneak preview of it:

https://www.marinevideo.eu/video/275/Trailer+Project+Ocean+Quest

In 2004 Peter produced, together with Rachel Campergue, a 52 minute documentary about shark finning in French Polynesia. This award winning film “Sharks of Rangiroa, from Legend to Reality” and the activities it triggered  played an important role in the process of introducing a law against commercial shark fishing in French Polynesia. The bill was finally passed the 12th of April 2006.

“I believe the biggest enemies of sharks are fear, misconception and a lack of information.  We simply don’t protect what we are afraid of and what we don’t understand.  In my films I try to capture the beauty of these amazing animals.  Every diver who ever had the chance to observe sharks in the wild can tell about their aura. Every diver who tells or even can show his family and friends pictures of himself diving with sharks, becomes somehow an ambassador for those fabulous creatures.  I am happy and feel privileged to have the chance to accompany you on your dive.  Giving you, with the films I make, a tool to change fear into fascination and respect.”

pet-dolph01_sm“When did I discover my sympathy for sharks you asked?  I was around 4 years old, when my parents and I spent our summer holidays at the shores of the Baltic sea.  I had this oval, red rubber-framed diving mask that I was so proud of.  I dared to kneel down and submerge the mask into the ankle-deep wild waters of the Baltic ocean ….sea …I mean.  Wow,  I was so impressed, … it was just unbelievable what I saw. Everyone on the beach has to know, I thought.  I left the water in such an excitement, ran  from one canopied beach chair to the next to announce my discovery: “ Sharks,… there are sharks in the water, …full of sharks, …the water is full of sharks.” I can’t remember how my parents reacted,, but they weren’t much concerned and let me go again for deeper studies. Sharks were obviously the first fish I knew by name, …not red snappers, …but the snappers have the color my back became that day. I learned: sharks are no (little) man eating monsters and snakes are not the only creatures changing their skin.”

Do you believe Peter when he says “mama” was not the first word he spoke, …it was actually manta ….?

Ok, this was just to get the twist to another  amazing story Peter has to share. In October 2007 he and his camera were at the right time in the right place. Two manta rays performed a beautiful mating dance in front of his eyes. We have seen this you might say, …but have you actually witnessed also the copulation of manta rays?  Very few people had the chance to observe such behavior in wildlife and until know nobody else has captured it on video yet.

Rangiroa 2008 divers 106Peter wrote an article on it ,which was published in the British “Diver” magazine and several German magazines as well.  You can read these articles online, …but to see the sparkling in Peters eyes when telling the story, you actually have to drop by.

“Manta rays are definitively the most graceful animals traveling the worlds’ oceans.  To meet them in their habitat is every divers’ dream.  If you are open to it, you can see that each animal has its different character and even mood.  To interact with them is really something magic.  Come as a guest, … sensitive and respectful and you will experience one of the most enchanted moments of your life and as a photo- or videographer,.you will take home the evidence of those magical encounters.  Magic is the keyword here, … the magic of the manta rays of Yap, …and the magic of the Island of Yap has brought me here.  The preserved nature and culture of the Island and the versatile diving Yap has to offer. I feel honored to be part of the professional team of Yap Divers. It is giving me the perfect support and working environment I need for my creative work at Manta Vision.”

Peter is also a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and PADI Specialty Underwater Videography Instructor.

He offers one day “Introductions into underwater videography” and  three day PADI Underwater Videography Specialty Courses with certifications.   Peter will be in Yap and ready to dive with you beginning in June.

The above was written by Peter to introduce himself to you.  I have  known Peter for years and am very excited to have him join our team at the Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers.  Peter will add another dimension to what is already a top flight dive staff.  His images will enhance our evenings as we project them on Mnuw’s big screen and his work will show up on our website very soon.   When you are ready for the adventure of your life, please contact us, or your favorite travel professional, to book your trip.  Myself, Jan, Peter and the staff all look forward to showing you the amazing island of Yap.

In the meantime, you can contact Peter at email: peter@underwatercam.tv or  mantavisions@mantaray.com and you can visit his website at  www.underwatercam.tv.


Manta Fest 2010…Yap, Micronesia

Each September the Manta Ray Bay hosts an exciting event called Manta Fest.  This year will be our fourth year running and will run from Sept 4 – 14.

We host Manta Fest each year with one simple aim.  That is for people who have a love of the sea and the life it supports to get together to share their knowledge, passion, pictures/films and stories.

Over the years we have been very fortunate to have some outstanding and well known SCUBA dive photographers/videographers take time out of their busy schedules and spend Manta Fest with us to share their knowledge and be on hand to teach and give tips on getting better footage and shots.  We host seminars and training sessions in the hotel to help our guests improve their skills behind the camera and also educate on the marine habitat and environment.  Of course there is also the bonus to go and dive with these professionals and chat on the dive boats.  In the evening the Crows Nest bar on the S/V Mnuw plays host to story-telling time and a chance to watch films shot by our presenters with a glass or two of our tasty in-house beer.

This year we will be joined by three talented people namely Andy Sallmon, Tim Rock and Ray Bullion.  They have all spent a lot of time in Yap and are great friends of the Manta Ray Bay and will make your vacation time with us just that little bit extra special.

So what are you waiting for book today!

We will be posting more information as the time draws closer.


Trader Jack Cooper

Trader Jack CooperOn Thursday night, Patricia, Greg Wilson and I were treated to a very memorable, and rare, occasion.  We were invited to dinner at the private home of Trader Jack Cooper, perhaps the most famous publican in the South Pacific.

Rosa Grilling the SteaksWe first met Jack at his restaurant and bar over coffee one morning and then visited his house one afternoon.  During that afternoon visit, Jack took a liking to Patricia and decided that we were worthy private dinner companions so we were invited to his house where his wife Rosa cooked an amazing meal of steak, fresh salad, carmalized onions and potatoes.

Bill Acker  with Jack CooperJack has been in Rarotonga for over 30 years and has established an impressive business empire including the famous Trader Jack’s Bar & Grill, a catering company and fish processing plant including a 10 ton per day ice machine.   Jack Cooper is truly a captain of industry having started numerous other businesses over the years and now settling down to write his memoirs – “40 Years Behind Bars” detailing his history in the tourism business.

Obviously Patrica and I extended an invitation for Jack and Rosa to visit Yap and allow us to return the hospitality.


St. Patrick’s Day As Celebrated In Rarotonga

Ian Wheeldon, Manager of Cook Island Divers Plays An Elvis TuneBill Acker & his wife Patricia met up with several Canadian friends of Greg Wilson for dinner and drinks to celebrate St. Patrick’s day. Music was provided by Wally Duff and Ian Wheeldon on the guitar with Greg Wilson singing along. It was a greaqt time all around and oh by the way, it was also Patricia’s birthday.

Patricia Acker Reacting To Wally's Rendition of Happy BirthdayThe venue was spectacular in the late afternoon as the sun was setting and the waves were crashing on the beach as seen through the lush tropical garden setting of the Waterline Restaurant. Even after dark, with the group gathered around the guitar, the atmosphere was stricktly party mode all the way.

Wally Duff & Greg Wilson Providing St. Patrick's Day EntertainmentWally, originally from Belfast, is the only true green Irishman in the country and we had him for the evening. The evening’s music ranged from Irish ballads to Elvis Pressley with at least two renditions of Happy Birthday for Patricia.


Yap Divers meets Cook Island Divers

Patricia and I have arrived in the Cook Islands where we are staying with local legendary dive pioneer Greg Wilson, owner and manager of Cook Island Divers.  Greg has been a close personal friend for a number of years and has been to Yap over a dozen times.  Believe it or not, this is the first time for Patricia and I to visit the Cooks.   Greg regularly reminds me that he has been working 20 years to get us to visit.

We have done the various tourist type things, round island drives, up to scenic points, visiting local watering holes and participating in Island Night at one of the local hotels for a traditional feast and dancing.   All of it has been good but the highlight for us has been the diving.

We have been out on the dive boats with Greg for the past 4 days and have seen some very good fish life, clear water and some stunning underwater vistas.  I have to say that I have been very pleasantly surprised by the dive quality but I suspect a lot of this has to do with Greg and the fact that he has been diving these waters since 1973.   We regularly see other dive operators’ boats in locations that we don’t dive and go past them to what Greg says are much better dive sites.  Seems that saving fuel is part of other operations plans while Greg and his staff go out of their way to put you on the day’s best diving.  Greg obviously shares my views on giving customers more than they expect.

At Yap Divers, we stive to under promise and over deliver and Cook Island Divers seems to share this viewpoint.  I urge anyone reading this to consider a stop in the Cooks for any planned New Zealand or Tahiti trip.  Managed by a transplanted Englishman, Ian Wheeldon, Greg’s dive shop specializes in SCUBA Training from Discover Scuba through to Instructor with PADI, NAUI, SSI or CMAS.  You will be in good hands as a new or experienced diver.

Next up, St. Patrick’s Day and Patricia’s Birthday and then more diving.


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R. Frobhboese
R. Frobhboese
06:21 13 May 20
We have been twice at Manta Ray Bay. The staff was exzellent dive guides as well as people on the Mnuw, not to mention the Amber👌 The sharks at Vertigo and the Mantas at Stammtisch are a must for every diver. We hope to be back!read more
Fariborz Zak
Fariborz Zak
07:03 12 May 20
Wonderful lovely place worth to try it again
Keenan Woodmansee
Keenan Woodmansee
07:09 04 Jan 20
This is "The" place to stay. Friendly staff and great hotel and restaurant.
Sandie Chung
Sandie Chung
13:30 11 Dec 19
My fourth time to Manta Ray Bay Resort in Yap since 1995. Hotel still very well kept, spacious room, good services and dive centre, very well run. Enjoy my dives very much with crystal clear water, mantas, sharks and even some macros. Wish they have better flight schedules to make it easier for visitors. Love to be back again.read more
Tait Brimacombe
Tait Brimacombe
04:31 18 Oct 19
Stayed at Manta Ray Bay as part of work travel to Yap. Excellent rooms and very friendly and helpful staff who were happy to go out of their way to assist guests and ensure they had a pleasant stay. Would highly recommend and look forward to staying again in the future.read more
John Yosh
John Yosh
11:27 18 Sep 19
My experience at the Manta RayBay Resort was once in a life time. We did not dive because we were in Yap for military purposes but if I had to choose a location in which to dive it would be in Yap and I would stay at the Manta Ray Bay Resort again. Bill and his family are just wonderful and made our experience on Yap such a memorable one. I hope to come back to Yap again and if I am so privileged I would visit with my adopted family and stay at the Manta Ray Bay Resort again.read more
Yann Faure
Yann Faure
11:08 15 Jul 19
All the staff from Manta bay resort will treat you like family and make you feel at home The room was very spacious and decorated with taste The dives were very nice , especially Vertigo obviously ! Do not hesitate , just book your trip to Yap and Manta bay resort will do the rest and there will not be any bad surprise I highly recommend a stay with Bill's Acker great resort !read more
Bruce Tanner
Bruce Tanner
16:13 27 Jun 19
Completed my 7th trip to Yap this past April and it is still one of the best dive destinations and operations around. Have led groups there for those 7 years and had several repeat customers go back with me. Great staff, dive operation and beautiful hotel. And the diving is diverse and just awesome. Many of the staff have become friends and it always a treat to be greeted by name upon arrival and around the hotel. Since diving is the premier attraction the island is a paradise of relaxation and laid back attitude. If you haven't been to this area of the world you should really consider it. Bill Acker, owner and all around good guy, can help you make travel plans for visiting Yap and other great destinations in Micronesia.read more
Jendrik Schroeder
Jendrik Schroeder
15:18 15 Jun 19
It´s an excellent diving and a wonderfull cultural experience to visit Yap. The Manta Ray Bay resort provides you with friendly and skilled staff both in diving and in the hotel department. The underwater world is extremely beautifull and the island culture very interesting to explore! I enjoyed both the diving and the cultural experience to the maximum !!!!!read more
Chris Mars
Chris Mars
18:28 26 Mar 19
This is my home island.. Iam just giving it 5 star review cuz i miss home.. Feels like forever since I Last visitedread more
stacey blake
stacey blake
16:26 20 Mar 19
Beautiful resort and location, small and quaint with very attentive service from wonderful staff who were extremely friendly and helpful, and knew everyone's name (travelled with a group of 20 people) within the first day. Yap Divers staff were amazing, we were even offered hot tea during our surface intervals with some delicious snacks, and they ensured we had the best possible dive experience on each dive. I would return to this gorgeous island and absolutely stay at Manta Bay Resort again, it's well worth the trip!read more
Shaun Suliol
Shaun Suliol
11:48 12 Mar 19
The staff made sure our every needs were met! They were accommodating to my groups weird requests. We felt spoiled. They even remember our names. No where else but in Yap at the Manta Ray!read more
Doreen Korbl
Doreen Korbl
19:09 10 Mar 19
incredible service, special thanks to Ruud the resort manager
Michael Fusco
Michael Fusco
04:49 22 Jan 19
MantaRayBay Resort, is THE dive resort. It is so obvious that this place was designed for divers, BY divers. The concept that all of the guests are part of the resort family seems to be the cornerstone of MRB Resort. The dive service is top notch; the wait staff spot-on, the resort staff super friendly and attentive. The dive sites are great, especially the southern walls, and of course the cleaning stations visited so often by the Manta Rays. I have gone scuba diving all over western Asia and the Caribbean, and MRB Resort is at the top!read more
Deb Roy-Stothart
Deb Roy-Stothart
13:55 06 Dec 18
The highest level of dive service ever experienced! Fabulous dive operation from crew, boats, snacks, hot tea and water, warm towels etc. etc. and of course the Manta Rays!! Thank you for making my 100th dive so memorable. Accommodations 5 star! Food was fabulous! Can't say enough about this beautiful Island and it's people. Loved Yap! Deb & Glenn, London, Ontarioread more
Jan Toman
Jan Toman
22:14 02 Nov 18
Great! GREAT! GREAT! Lovely place, lovely staff, great location for divers!
Ms. Malinda
Ms. Malinda
13:52 14 Oct 18
Great place to stay while visiting the island. Lots of activities to do with places to see & people to meet.read more
Rene Sten
Rene Sten
04:06 12 Oct 18
Bill and his family run a great dive resort, rooms are spacious and comfortable. Restaurant and bar provide good range of food and drink. Bill and his dive guides know the reef intimately and the diving is spectacular. Bill and his family make for a very friendly and rewarding experience in Yap.read more
Jonathan Gapith
Jonathan Gapith
10:31 19 Sep 18
Best dive resort around, amazingly friendly staff and great food on the mnuw
Daniel Granzer
Daniel Granzer
11:40 23 Aug 18
We were from 11.08 to 18.08 at the Manta Ray Bay resort and had unforgettable days there 😍In total we made 12 dives with wonderful encounters. Highlights were, of course, the manta rays in the Goofnuw Channel and many white tip reef sharks in the Shark City 🦈 But also we saw eagle rays, turtles 🐢 and buffalo head parrotfish. The hotel is beautiful and the whole team does a great job there. The food on the ship Mnuw, as well as the home-brewed beer are excellent. Thank you again to the whole team of Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers 👏🏼We also did a one-day land tour to explore the many beautiful places of this unique island. The beach is like in paradise🏝, stone money and relics from the second world war very worth to see! You find there also culturally typical houses with different meaning and use! It would be nice if more visitors would come to this great island and appreciate the great work that is done there! Anyway, we really enjoyed it and would come back anytime 🙏🏻✌🏼read more
Emily Caquelin
Emily Caquelin
04:10 02 Aug 18
Manta Ray Bay Resort is a great dive resort with extremely hospitable staff.
William Myers
William Myers
21:01 21 Jul 18
Great hotel. Have stayed twice.
Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly
11:27 21 Mar 18
We stayed at the hotel and dove with Manta Ray divers in early December 2017. The hotel is very comfortable, well run and staffed with wonderful employees. During our visit my wife came down with an illness and the consideration and support from the hotel and dive staff could not have been better.read more
Sandy Stinson
Sandy Stinson
16:03 03 Mar 18
The staff couldn't be more friendly and accommodating. Food is good, (worth upgrading to include all meals). Diving is good too.read more
Alex Divinsky
Alex Divinsky
17:24 01 Jan 18
The best place to stay in Yap. The resort is really nice and clean, the scuba diving is great, and the docked ship that houses the bar, restaurant, and movie screen is very cool. I really enjoyed my stay here.read more
ASALI
ASALI
10:44 01 Jan 18
Offers one of the best accommodation service. It also has a uniquely designed restaurant.
Yi-Hsin Lin
Yi-Hsin Lin
00:53 21 Feb 17
The whole place centers around the scuba diving operation. Probably better to find somewhere else if you're not a diver. The dive operation was generally good, but a little too laid back - schedules weren't always clear, and sometimes would change without any notice. Sometimes it was hard to tell if this was really because of changing tides/weather or because of the island pace of life. Pizza is a surprisingly good option at the restaurant.read more
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