Manta Mania 2017 Event Report
Manta Mania 2017 is our fastest growing event and made for a full house this year.
People and scientists from all over the world shared a few common interests – diving with manta rays, conservation and good times.
This is the week where we go manta diving everyday, learn about marine ecology, human impact, conservation efforts and are side-by-side with some of today’s leading people in their scientific communities.
In Yap we always say “It’s more than mantas!” and our science symposium included special talks about turtle, fish and shark research from the scientists on those front lines.
Everyday there was special event dive plans that put us in the water with Yap’s wildlife.
During the week we saw mantas clean in the lagoon, dive groups were seeing mantas surface feeding from the boat, there’s mantas passing divers along the southern walls in the blue and one was ID’d at the caverns.
Our new pride and joy media from the week was a new baby male named “Gabe” that was ID’d cleaning just outside the Yap Caverns amphitheater – a magical moment experienced by just one diver and her camera.
Workshops were inside views of the research and the people behind it showing what it takes to protect sharks, turtles and manta rays in today’s world, it is tougher than it sounds.
Evening media presentations were part entertainment, part science, mostly conservation but all illustrated human impact on marine life.
From plastics, pollution and practices that negatively effect the marine environment, human impact was presented by people in the know and some who have years of data showing it.
We saw charts, graphs and images with some information that will encourage us to play a more positive role in our global ecosystem.
Lots of Diving
Dive days were buzzing with everything else Yap – sharks, schools of bumpheads, snapper, barracuda, turtles, cuttlefish, and of course, manta rays. Vertigo was the site of a morning shark dive with 5 mantas feeding in the blue – wildlife interactions were all over the outer reef and southern walls.
The package includes all of our specialties – shark feed, mandarinfish and night dives. Another upgrade was a “Rumung”, the forbidden island, tour during a surface interval lunch in the village at a traditional Yapese men’s house.
During the week we gathered the following data:
- 24 manta encounters this week
- 11 were males
- 6 were female
- 7 could not be sexed
- “Dotty” is pregnant
- 1 new manta ID
- We saw the smallest manta ray ever seen in Yap
- Increased manta encounters outside the reef
- Resident manta “Victor” had a fishing line injury above his left eye
The Yap Manta Project is driven by photo ID’s. Your photos of Yap manta ray belly shots with time stamps is citizen science, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manta Mania 2018 is going to end right around the Yap Day celebration. It will be our 4th event and you can extend for the island’s biggest cultural festival – the absolute best of Yap, manta ray mating season and the opportunity to see everything Yapese in and out of the water.
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