Manta Mania 2016

mm2016_groupBeach
mm2016_groupbarManta Mania 2016 brought in a big group of enthusiastic divers to learn about mantas, dive with mantas and interact these creatures with the world’s leading manta scientists.

The action was from breakfast until well after happy hour – our daily schedule packed in several dives, a classroom workshop and evening presentations at the Crow’s Nest.

The Diving

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The mantas did not disappoint.

Our interactions were with single males, pregnant females, courting females and divers were engulfed in dancing mantas.

We got hands-on with the citizen-science and marine conservation by participating in the study of these animals through photo ID.

During the workshops we learned how to identify gender, maturity and condition of these animals – as it turns out, Yap’s resident ray research shows healthy animals of all ages and strong reproductive behavior.

Some of our scientists commented on how much mating behavior there is to see here during this time of year.

After learning about manta behavior it makes the diving a lot more interesting, especially when we can identify what’s going on when we’re out on the reef with these animals.

Natural selection puts on a unique show here in Yap as the females make their prospect mates earn the chance to pair with her.

The science theme during the week is also very sharky – did you know that rays are basically flat sharks? There’s your manta fact for the day, rays are biologically closer relatives to sharks than any other animal. Vertigo was our blue water laboratory where we can size up some reef sharks and learn about this marine community as well.

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mm2016_cuttlefishAnother breeding cycle happens the same time of year – right now cuttlefish are seen in pairs and groups on almost every reef dive.

Mating behavior typically means that the animals care less about a diver’s presence – the result is super close proximity of interactions… which make for incredible photo ops.

Our Scientists

Our presenting experts for 2016 were Julie Hartup, Guy Stevens, Steve Lindfield and Ben Buchan who introduced themselves, their research and kept the fun factor high throughout the event.

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Julie Hartup has been studying Yap mantas for 6 years with Manta Trust and now her new organization, www.micronesianconservation.org with projects throughout the West Pacific. She’s part of the Yap family and started this event with Bill Acker to build a scientific community and put research into action.

mm2016_scienceGuyManta Rays, 101

Guy Stevens, founder of www.mantatrust.org, introduced his work with mantas and walked us through the different species in scientific detail.

How to identify the different species, their sizes, geographic range, what they eat, lifespan, various behaviors, including mating with a demonstration using scaled down model mantas… as well as super interesting manta facts that were only learned through satellite tagging.

mm2016_scienceSteveSteve Lindfield, also a Rolex Scholar, showed us how stereo videography is used to count and size fish, including sharks and mantas while introducing his work and latest project here in Micronesia.

Ben Buchan is the 2016 Australasia Rolex Scholar who is touring the world in the name of academics, conservation and life adventure out of Sydney,  Australia.
mm2016_scienceBenBen was professional enough to teach us all how to properly wrangle a shark. We had a shark wrangling video as well as infographics on how NOT to wrangle a shark – clearly, we don’t wrangle manta rays.

Big Animal science and good times.

Our scientists brought their A-game teaching us about our marine environment as well as helping us conserve a resource that we enjoy – these guys also brought the party and showed us all how marine biologists kick it up at the Crow’s Nest.

The divers and scientists pulled their data from the week and presented their findings at the end of the event.

This year at manta mania

• You had 50 interactions
• You saw 30 different mantas
• Of those, 20 were males
• and 10 were females
• 2 females are pregnant
• There were 3 mating trains
• 3 new measurements were recorded
• 1 new manta ray was identified

Citizen Science

We had a special database entry this year, a new manta ID. It’s male and his name is “Hai Ray”, given to him by our guests who shot it’s first photo ID, who also got married on the beach the next day.
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manta-mania-newmanta2After our scientific data presentation of the week’s research, Julie brought out her Yap manta database and presented the new manta ray entry.

Manta Mania is growing up to be one of our best weeks to be here for big animal diving, conservation science and having a tropical vacation party in paradise.

Manta Mania 2017

February 12th – 18th – We are taking reservations for next year’s manta mania where we will have returning guests and scientists as well as two new researchers that will join the party.

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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
William Myers
William Myers
21:01 21 Jul 18
Great hotel. Have stayed twice.
Emily Caquelin
Emily Caquelin
04:10 02 Aug 18
Manta Ray Bay Resort is a great dive resort with extremely hospitable staff.
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
Jonathan Gapith
Jonathan Gapith
10:31 19 Sep 18
Best dive resort around, amazingly friendly staff and great food on the mnuw
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
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
Jan Toman
Jan Toman
22:14 02 Nov 18
Great! GREAT! GREAT! Lovely place, lovely staff, great location for divers!
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
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