Thanks Bruce for your comments on the Lap around Yap post… he gave the ole, “Yeah, yeah, show me what we really come for…” – Roger that. Today we’re looking at some quick selections pulled right off of Marc’s Nikon D300s. He was nice enough to walk his camera down to the photo shop and let me choose some photos to share with you from the thousand or so pictures he took during his week here.
A close encounter of the Yap kind
Giant Mantas right up in your dome. These photos were taken at the new cleaning station that Bill and his team discovered, named Stammtisch. This week we had on and off Manta encounters at the site. Some people spent an hour on the cleaning station and didn’t see any Mantas, but right afterwards a group of us went snorkeling and we had a Manta hanging around so long that we eventually got hungry and went back to the boat for lunch – both experiences in two hours on the same site, same buoy. That’s kind of how the week played out, another day one group came back with 4 Mantas on a dive and another group saw none on the same day, same site – however Mantas were seen swimming overhead in the Channels on drift dives and strafing the reef on the way into the cleaning station throughout the week.
Snorkeling with the Mantas offers a different view. When diving this cleaning station, divers hang in about 15 feet of water off the reef ledge and look up at the animals circling above. Snorkelers get to watch the opposite side and look at them from the top. A Manta snorkel after an island tour isn’t a bad way to spend your last day on the island, you can go home with both experiences and maximize a non-dive day.
Even closer Encounters
Here’s something you don’t see everyday. Marc got face-to-face with this octopus on a macro dive. He also brought back scores of photos of the reef life and small fish. I had to just pick a couple and go, otherwise we’d have sat at my laptop for hours flipping through thumbnails and long delayed a cold micro-brew.
The Anemone fish are our little underwater reef celebrities, photographers rarely pass one without at least showing a little paparazzi form. This photo probably isn’t that little guy’s first Internet appearance.
Moray eels are found at almost every dive site, this guy looks like he had something to say to the camera. Feel free to comment with a good quote or caption and I’ll post it.
Yap waters are rich with sharks. This week we had two diver reports of two 3 meter long sharks at the outer edge of Goofnuw Channel on the Pacific Ocean side. Over in the Philippine Sea, the reef is always patrolled by a healthy platoon of Grey’s and Black Tips. “Not people shy”, should be the description when talking about Yap sharks, here we have divers just feet apart from each other and nice Grey cruising in between them to investigate.
As soon as you enter the water at Vertigo, the shark squad moves in to check things out. When diving this site, the first ten to fifteen minutes is spent with sharks coming right up to the boat, splitting divers and circling closely above. After everyone has been hanging around for a while, things go back to normal and the energy winds down to steady reef patrol. Note to self: have the camera already rolling when you splash into the water at Vertigo.
Yap Diver Evenings
Three minutes from the boat dock at O’Keefe island is where the nightly Manderine Fish voyeur experience happens. The goal is to bring back media of the tandem finish – but photographing these little fish in the act is not easy, for two reasons; first, they do it in the dark, and secondly, the show lasts as long as a high-school first time – bam, done. Photographer’s Tip: a red focus light is a good idea if you want to record the action – it freaks them out less than white light. Marc witnessed the grand finale, but didn’t get it on camera this time. These are the “before” shots…
Thanks again Marc for your photos, you have the second coolest biz I’ve ever heard of – www.LiquidNation.de.
This is what it looks like on the reef today and what’s happening with Yap Divers, right now – the last 36 hour “Yap status” dive and wildlife report. So far Bill’s operation is doing exactly what it says on the box – clear water diving, big animals up close, high-end macro opportunities and small dive groups on exclusive dive sites.