Kids Sea Camp family divers week in Yap went off with some of the year’s best animal interactions, weather and the biggest surprise in almost 30 years of diving here.
We kicked off the diving with a ripping big animal show starting at Vertigo with our friendly school of Black tip and Grey reef sharks.
Hitting this dive site after a few hours of incoming tide makes for a stunning show.
The magic of this site is that everyone gets what they came for. Junior divers stay on top of the reef plateau at 40 feet surrounded by sharks and advanced divers have the entire wall to play on.
Getting Vertigo going is easy, these animals are always here and this experience is more assured than our Mantas.
Once everyone settles into the dive the sharks take on their swim pattern and we get to float around and put ourselves and our cameras in the right spot.
Kids Sea Camp promotes conservation and a lot of awareness of the marine eco-system. These young divers get educated on how threatened sharks are, why and what they can do about it.
During surface intervals the topside chatter included some simple and practical things that all of us can do in order to preserve this for the next generation, making responsible world travelers from these learning experiences.
Sharks are protected here in Yap right along side our resident manta rays with the establishment of the big animal marine sanctuary.
Here we get to enjoy these animals every day and they get to enjoy protection from unnatural threats.
Diving along side their children, the parents were getting Vertigo exactly how they wanted.
The diving is planned so that the kids dive on their own boats with two dive masters / instructors and the parents board boats with other adults.
Dive sites are planned throughout the week so that the diving is mixed, there are sites where it’s just the kids or adults and other dives are planned for the whole family.
Parents had some adult time, kids had a lot of kid time, there is family time and was room to throw in some photography workshops and spa treatments throughout the week.
Yap’s big animal spectacular is a ’10’ manta dive – our first run at the cleaning station turned out to be everything you can ask for and more. Goofnuw Channel, “Valley of the Rays”, did not disappoint.
It was the magic hour right when the tide begins to recede when the water is the clearest and the current is still slight.
As soon as our group hit the site the mantas came in, six of them, and put on a perfect Yap encounter.
Manta passes so consistent that I started lining up kids for overhead manta shots and was able to shoot our guests one-by-one with a ray buzzing their tank.
These young divers pulled experienced lines out there during the week. We had a 75 minute dives and our family divers were boarding the boat with over 1400 psi.
The better the divers, the easier the week is for everyone, guides, photographer boat crew… and the parents – Sea Camp week was pure fun for everyone.
Yap’s big animalness didn’t stop with just sharks and manta rays, we had a marlin overhead at Pelak Corner, spinner dolphins at our safety stop at Eagle’s Nest and something very special happened to just our group after a ripping shark dive.
Baby Whale Shark! Cruising over the reef on the way back from Vertigo Alex and Mike spotted a huge animal and we swung the boat, doubled checked to make sure it wasn’t a tiger shark, and all got in with our cameras.
This little guy gave all of us the one-eyed pass performing a full circle around and through our group before cruising out into the clear blue.
This was a dive guide first, photographer first and Sea Camp first in Yap.
One of the blue water dive plans Bill took the kids on an outer reef drift and showed them some hall of fame diver lines at Cabbage Patch and Magic Kingdom.
Non-divers had itineraries with full days showcasing Yap’s unique island culture and rich history. Families walked down thousand year-old stone paths, visited village sites and learned about traditional Yapese life on cultural island adventures.
The Sea Camp week includes educational activities such as traditional attire demonstrations where kids learn about Yapese ceremonial dress and how it works in their culture, women’s and men’s roles in the community, traditional conservation methods and village responsibility.
Each day after the divers depart the boat dock, non-divers take off on their day adventures – kayaking, snorkeling, beach trips, traditional craft making, fishing trips and pool parties filled in the time until everyone met back at the resort for lunch and the evening’s activity schedule.
No trip is complete without your own beach party and BBQ buffet served in gold sand.
Sea Camp 2016 will be June 18th – 25th.
For more information, bookings and details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 803-419-2556.