Happy Year End

sunrise at the manta ray bay resort, yap micronesiaHello again, we’re back with the Yap status reports (finally). I’m happy to be posting this after a couple of months off island… here’s my update and what today looks like at Bill’s op.

After surviving the end of the world, a whole bunch of people showed up ready to dive and we have action up and down every side of this island.

Here’s today’s lap around Yap riding shotgun blog style. The dive board is full of names and there’s only one spare boat, we have a house of divers hitting it 3 to 4 tanks a day. There’s a two boat shark feed dive tomorrow afternoon, the original Bill Acker designed version, he’s leaving the bait box at home… and just before hitting the dock this morning a guest came in my office and showed me his best shot from last night’s Manderine Fish dive, apparently they’ve really been going at it lately – its target-rich on the lagoon corral heads for photogs every sunset.

Getting in the water

Not everything is divable every day and the guides have been doing a little extra driving to cherry pick the clearest bluest water to roll into… and have been top notch at delivering.

We’re diving with 100+ feet of vis and seeing some high quality stuff. Today I saw a Marlin the size of a canoe pass me in the blue while I was kicking away from the reef during my safety stop. Earlier in the dive I was passed by cruising tuna hunting a wall with white-tips spooking out of little canyons.

And there have been some things that only a Micronesian dive guide can pull… that’s John tapping his rattle and getting everyone’s attention before he made his next move. We were drifting around 75-85 feet and John spotted two Cuddlefish another 20-30 feet below us. He brought us all down and we got to circle up and watch two of these things interact and put on the whole reef camoflauge light show while they hovered there. That’s a Yap Divers Cuddlefish sandwich before 10AM out at Cabbage Patch.

 

All the cool stuff you want to be seeing while riding a jogging pace current down south was there. I learned my lesson today with the Marlin, after I ended my dive and begin my move into the blue for a pick up, I put the lens cover on and shut down the camera, this time, you just have to take my word for it – going forward I’ll stay in condition orange until the boat arrives.

The Manta Report

It’s mating season. That means it’s game on out on the reef.

All week the dive reports have been rich at Stammtisch, the most active cleaning station that Bill’s crew discovered a while back.

There’s reports of 11 mantas at one time coming off the dock. Here’s what I saw my first time back…

There’s two types of interaction that you find here at this dive, if you call it that. It’s hardly a dive, you hover in 14 feet of water as long as you want, but what you get is the natural “it came right up to me” Yap Manta experience. There’s two primary ways that we experience these animals on a daily basis all year; first, (left) is what I like to call the “high-five” pass, where you could literally reach out and slap that sucker a palmful… second, (right) is the “it was right on top of me” overhead super slow graceful pass.

 

That is what it looked like at the cleaning station… this is what it looked like during the 5 minute kick to the cleaning station in our small group. Still my personal favorite all time Yap Manta Ray experience is the “just passing through” group splitting snuck up on from behind open water pass.

This is when you find yourself swimming along side one of Yap’s 100-something resident mantas.

Not a bad way to start your morning after flying half way around the planet to make sure your tropical dive vacation included the real deal natural big animal encounter.

This is cool when it happens, no matter how many times it has.

 

Mantas are hitting consistently and in numbers right now. After tomorrow’s shark feed and another few hours with my Macbook Pro we’ll have the Yap shark report. What we won’t see is the macro report, I’ll have to SIM card beg around the photo workstations for hand-outs… but what we can start Yap’s blue water report.

While I was back on the mainland I did some diving off of California’s Channel Island’s as well as Baja, Mexico. The conditions were epic while I was there and we went nuts over 40+ feet of vis.

Coming back to Yap and rolling over to triple-digits everyday can ruin a guy’s perspective on what diving looks like. This place spoils you.

Things are sharp here at the hotel as well, Bill’s been adding more and more convenience for his guests with added services that make big differences, magical appearing personal dive gear at your boat seat was his latest trick.

The latest addition to my media arsenal is a Cannon Rebel T3i, which is a step up from the Sealife DC1400 you’ve seen before. I have no idea what I’m doing with it yet, but I’m running with everything I have. There’s plenty more fuzzy pictures of Yap diving awesomeness coming your way through my lens.

Things are looking a lot like the real-deal island paradise in and out of the water.

Yap is where you cannot help but to experience traditional native culture and people, also there are some interesting things happening around the island that somebody should write down, because it’s unique… note to self.

Getting to Yap

Bill wanted to make sure that everybody knows this: he is willing to help anyone flying to Yap, he’s heard a few times that people weren’t told about simple routes with major carriers that apparently some wholesalers and travel agents aren’t aware of… I guess booking travel to Yap from everywhere in the world for almost 30 years will do that to a guy, so his message is – call or email him. He’ll cut you in on your best options, regardless of who you book through or pay for travel. So now you know, free Yap travel advice given by the man himself.

This is what things are looking like over here and where we’re starting up from again…

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