Manta Fest – Day Two

We’re officially getting warmed up now.

The day started again with an awesome sunrise from the boat dock.

I wasn’t the only one out shooting the daybreak – some contestants were swapping lenses and getting their own snaps in while the sky kaledescoped in color before breakfast.


This morning I got on Frank’s boat with Andy Schumacher who’s Manta Fest’s video shooter. Also on board is last year’s best of show and first place winner, Anke Rorbach, with some new guests from Europe.


Today’s Diving

We got on some wide angle shooting today in clear water on both sides of the island.

Starting off with a channel drift from the Pacific Ocean and wrapping things up on a deep wall dive in the Philippine Sea.

Today’s diving gave our guest crew the opportunity to start collecting reef scenic entries for the contest – and do some fun outer reef drifting in nice water.


Here’s our HUGE encounter for the morning – a feather-tailed sting ray.

Dive guide Gordon pointed it out and I turned around and waved in Anke to get the first shots as it was resting behind a big coral head.

After a few other divers circled up, the ray stirred and headed out of it’s hole and across the channel. This is the biggest feather-tailed ray I’ve seen here – if we put that in the bed of Bill’s F-150 pickup, it would hang over the rails on all three sides.


Our second tank got us into even clearer water on a deep wall, we went down to shoot a soft coral garden that lies at 130 feet on an outcropping. It was a symphony of dive computer alarms, all of our wrists lit up and we were getting scolded… which didn’t stop Frank from dropping down another 25 feet and shooting some brilliant red gregorian sea fans. The rest of us managed to finish off the dive proper, but Frank’s depth sent him to a 40 minute safety stop.

Becoming a better photographer

IMG_0086Tonight’s educational series is hosted by David Fleetham and the subject is “Using Natural Light”.

We’re getting the low down on shooting silhouettes and working with direct sunlight and no flash photography.

Background exposure techniques with f-stop, iso and shutter speed settings as well as the use of histograms were covered. David prepared a narrated slide show with screenshots that include his as well as Marty Snyderman’s photos that illustrate the results of good and bad technique as well as what’s possible when shooting with sunlight.


As the class wrapped up, both Marty and David were asked questions and part of their response was an immediate tutorial at the dive dock and at the pool. People who wanted extra information asked and 5 minutes later were one-on-one with both Marty and David with their camera system, lenses and user manual.


Pro Media

IMG_0098 David gave a complete naturalist presentation with amazing photography.

We learned where fish come from, how many species of fish live in areas of the Pacific, how and why some species don’t make it to some areas of the world, even how others became endemic to an environment.

Basically we got a laymen version of how the ocean works and what lives in it between Japan and California with stunning photos of most of it.


IMG_0106 Just after David’s presentation the table behind me had  Frank throwing down his knowledge over a laptop and a contestant’s photos.

The information being passed is constant, from the morning in the dive shop – until after dinner over drinks.

This is what you get at Manta Fest, a Yap-style personal photography experience, er, I mean party. We’re having a pretty good time and making friends.

People are getting with the free info offering as well and groups are mixing up so that everyone has a chance to dive with each pro if they’d like to.

Dive and Photo Party

Julie is celebrating her birthday tonight.

We just got back from Sunset Park in time for the media presentation and cheers’ing coconuts at the Nautical Bar with all of Manta Fest.

Dive boats are running out to Manta sites, Vertigo for sharks and afternoon macro dives tomorrow with some new arrivals to boot – Ray Bullion will also be here and complete the presenter roster.

Don’t be left out


We have 26 divers on the board, a few more coming in tonight… and over 40 arrivals this weekend.

The second week of Manta Fest filled up leaving just a few empty rooms during the first week.

Each year the party gets bigger and bigger, if you’re thinking about it, pick up the keyboard, give Bill a holler and claim your room for next year early.

Bill’s hooking up the travel and getting you the best deals into Micronesia – for free itineraries, send an email his way:


1 thought on “Manta Fest – Day Two”

  1. Manta Fest:

    Looks like the divers are getting plenty of clear water and subjects. My son Dustin and I spent a combined 5 weeks there (just returned)and had exceptional experiences. Clear water, walls with soft corals; M’il Channel filled with subjects of all sizes, and got to know the sharks at Vertigo as individuals based on their markings. Fun stuff. We came prepared for anything, just like Tim Rock explained years ago.

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Availability & Reservations

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 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 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 more
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 more
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