Manta Mania Party Report

manta-mania_webThe first annual Manta Mania event brought a group of people together for a very special dive package and big animal citizen science symposium.

This was a completely custom itinerary that included three-tank dive days with daily workshops on how our ocean’s megafauna are connected to us in the world we share – designed to deliver the best of Yap experience in and out of the water in an eco-tourism, conservation and citizen science package.

It turns out that learning about marine ecosystems, science and conservation during a dive week with fresh brewed beer go well together.

Eco-tourism and Conservation

Each day was planned to combine the day’s diving, workshops and getting to know Yap. Yapese traditional conservation methods are still practiced in the modern lifestyle and is the reason behind the success of Yapese people.

We learned about “nature integrated technology” through the ancient tools used by Yapese people who worked with nature, and each other, in cooperation providing sustainability on a small island with limited resources.

_MG_6318The science component started with Margie Falanruw, director of the Yap Institute of Natural Science, who introduced us to local knowledge and traditional conservation methods.

Interesting depictions illustrated how almost all of the land is sustainably used by the Yapese, including the reef, all the way out to the blue water.

Citizen scientists kicked off with getting to know the environment that will be our host for the week and moved on to modern techniques used by our presenting scientists.

Yap is where manta ray tourism started and it has the first government to establish a sanctuary for mantas. It’s one of the few places in the world where everyday you can go dive with manta rays. It’s also a field research office for Julie Hartup with Manta Trust who is the Micronesian and Marianas project manager and leading scientist for this region.

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Julie’s work has been targeting manta behaviors and finding out where they go to feed, clean, mate, give birth and why. Critical data is cataloged to learn about these resident populations of Micronesian mantas in order to protect them.

_MG_6365Working together with Dr. Mark Deakos from Hawaii Association of Marine Mammals Education and Research  (HAMER), a photo-ID database has been created.

We learned the importance of participating in the conservation of our marine ecosystem.

The rays are being indexed, sightings tracked and these events are being put into a custom management tool that has already helped draft legal regulations and guided other conservation efforts for Yaps big animals.

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Ana Filipa Sobral brought us into the big world of mobulas and introduced her work, data and research methods in the field.

Each day included a special workshop after diving, usually over ice cold beers.

 

Citizen Science

IMG_0289Learning about manta rays in the evening, then diving with them in the morning made each dive more interesting.

We learned to identify the gender, pregnancy, maturation as well as look for signs of recent mating.

Everyone took part in data collection – photo-IDs were taken along with measurements and animal counts as well as exploration dives to possible new manta ray feeding or cleaning sites.

This event is scheduled during manta mating season which guarantees multiple animal interactions, aggregations and more behavior.

Best of Yap Diving

The dive package scheduled 16 dives that included our specialty shark dive, mating manderinfish and night dives. We had mantas, and everything else Yap has to offer. Blue water wall diving turned up pelagic encounters and the local mini wall entertained us with fun macro.

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IMG_0891We also learned that it’s cuttlefish mating season, the reef was full of them in pairs – one dive had six cuttlefish encounters in it – full moon diving turned out some rich encounters this week.

In between sharks and cuttlefish we threw a surface interval picnic in a village.

Each day was carefully designed to get a little more island and nature in the experience, Yap’s undeveloped setting creates a unique relaxing ambiance to make friends and enjoy a day.

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Research diving was part of the deal where we were going on explorer dives in areas that could be suitable for big animal cleaning, feeding or mating.

We came up with zero mantas, but did have a hammerhead shark buzz our group. Great news for diving Yap, hammerheads are territorial, we may have a new resident juvenile on our Pacific reef.

After two morning science dives our group off-gassed next to some stone money on the water’s edge in a Yapese village. Lunch was delivered and the boats and gear refreshed for a third tank before happy hour and afternoon workshop.

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This is how the days went – mixing fun diving, conservation, island life and hanging with like-minded people in paradise.

The Manta Ray Bay Experience

We threw a wrap party on Manta Ray Bay’s private beach after eco, culture and land tours on the non-dive day.

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Yap is unique and is a great venue for customizing a special event. Bill is getting ready to throw a 30th birthday party for his operation and he’s still diving and partying with his guests.

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Kegged beer, bottled wine, fresh coconuts and soft drinks backed the bbq buffet on a cliche gold sand beach at our private party.

A very successful event with room to grow, stay connected for updates and package deals for Manta Mania 2015.

 

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Tait Brimacombe
Tait Brimacombe
04:31 18 Oct 19
Stayed at Manta Ray Bay as part of work travel to Yap. Excellent rooms and very friendly and helpful staff who were happy to go out of their way to assist guests and ensure they had a pleasant stay. Would highly recommend and look forward to staying again in the future.read more
John Yosh
John Yosh
11:27 18 Sep 19
My experience at the Manta RayBay Resort was once in a life time. We did not dive because we were in Yap for military purposes but if I had to choose a location in which to dive it would be in Yap and I would stay at the Manta Ray Bay Resort again. Bill and his family are just wonderful and made our experience on Yap such a memorable one. I hope to come back to Yap again and if I am so privileged I would visit with my adopted family and stay at the Manta Ray Bay Resort again.read more
Yann Faure
Yann Faure
11:08 15 Jul 19
All the staff from Manta bay resort will treat you like family and make you feel at home The room was very spacious and decorated with taste The dives were very nice , especially Vertigo obviously ! Do not hesitate , just book your trip to Yap and Manta bay resort will do the rest and there will not be any bad surprise I highly recommend a stay with Bill's Acker great resort !read more
Bruce Tanner
Bruce Tanner
16:13 27 Jun 19
Completed my 7th trip to Yap this past April and it is still one of the best dive destinations and operations around. Have led groups there for those 7 years and had several repeat customers go back with me. Great staff, dive operation and beautiful hotel. And the diving is diverse and just awesome. Many of the staff have become friends and it always a treat to be greeted by name upon arrival and around the hotel. Since diving is the premier attraction the island is a paradise of relaxation and laid back attitude. If you haven't been to this area of the world you should really consider it. Bill Acker, owner and all around good guy, can help you make travel plans for visiting Yap and other great destinations in Micronesia.read more
Jendrik Schroeder
Jendrik Schroeder
15:18 15 Jun 19
It´s an excellent diving and a wonderfull cultural experience to visit Yap. The Manta Ray Bay resort provides you with friendly and skilled staff both in diving and in the hotel department. The underwater world is extremely beautifull and the island culture very interesting to explore! I enjoyed both the diving and the cultural experience to the maximum !!!!!read more
Chris Mars
Chris Mars
18:28 26 Mar 19
This is my home island.. Iam just giving it 5 star review cuz i miss home.. Feels like forever since I Last visitedread more
stacey blake
stacey blake
16:26 20 Mar 19
Beautiful resort and location, small and quaint with very attentive service from wonderful staff who were extremely friendly and helpful, and knew everyone's name (travelled with a group of 20 people) within the first day. Yap Divers staff were amazing, we were even offered hot tea during our surface intervals with some delicious snacks, and they ensured we had the best possible dive experience on each dive. I would return to this gorgeous island and absolutely stay at Manta Bay Resort again, it's well worth the trip!read more
Shaun Suliol
Shaun Suliol
11:48 12 Mar 19
The staff made sure our every needs were met! They were accommodating to my groups weird requests. We felt spoiled. They even remember our names. No where else but in Yap at the Manta Ray!read more
Doreen Korbl
Doreen Korbl
19:09 10 Mar 19
incredible service, special thanks to Ruud the resort manager
Michael Fusco
Michael Fusco
04:49 22 Jan 19
MantaRayBay Resort, is THE dive resort. It is so obvious that this place was designed for divers, BY divers. The concept that all of the guests are part of the resort family seems to be the cornerstone of MRB Resort. The dive service is top notch; the wait staff spot-on, the resort staff super friendly and attentive. The dive sites are great, especially the southern walls, and of course the cleaning stations visited so often by the Manta Rays. I have gone scuba diving all over western Asia and the Caribbean, and MRB Resort is at the top!read more
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
Jan Toman
Jan Toman
22:14 02 Nov 18
Great! GREAT! GREAT! Lovely place, lovely staff, great location for divers!
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
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
Jonathan Gapith
Jonathan Gapith
10:31 19 Sep 18
Best dive resort around, amazingly friendly staff and great food on the mnuw
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
Emily Caquelin
Emily Caquelin
04:10 02 Aug 18
Manta Ray Bay Resort is a great dive resort with extremely hospitable staff.
William Myers
William Myers
21:01 21 Jul 18
Great hotel. Have stayed twice.
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
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