Scuba Diver Girls – w/ the Ackers

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The southern tip of Yap’s barrier reef is where the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Sea meet. It’s home to the most sea life diversity, brilliant coral, fun topography and water clarity in Yap.

IMG_2394We saved this dive so that the Acker family can take the girls on a personal tour of Yap Caverns.

Today’s dive guides were Bill, his wife Patricia and daughter Numie.

The girls and I have been redlining our dive computers on every dive so far, this morning we went straight down to over a hundred feet and rallied up for a group photo looking like a Mares party dive team.

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IMG_2413Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers is, and always will be, family owned and operated. Bill started diving here with his wife back when Fu Manchu mustaches were in style.

Today’s dive report is rich with a couple of cool surprises.

We started out on a wall drift towards the Caverns. Just as we’ve had the last couple of days we had triple digit visibility with good vibes to settle us into our first dive.

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IMG_2646 Scuba Diver Girls are sponsored by Watershot, makers of cool lights and camera accessories… who are also responsible for the iPhone housing.

Watershot gets credit for making a Yap Diver moment happen on the reef wall half way through our drift.

Margo has a one-handed do-it-all Go Pro pistol grip tray and video light combo that made its debut in Yap.

She was exploring some overhung crevasses with her 1800 lumen video light and I watched her disappear into the reef wall. As I drifted past, I discovered the attraction, in a small cave there was a nurse shark sleeping. Sharks are one of Margo’s favorite animals. Little does she know that the Yap shark show has yet to be performed, that’s tomorrow’s agenda.

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Our wall drifted continued with another surprise, this time it was Stephanie’s turn. I saw her lock onto something down the reef and get kicking, it was hawksbill turtle.

IMG_2476I caught up to both of them and released the shutter a few times and caught the two of them making eye contact in one of my shots.

The turtle didn’t mind us too much and we got to swim with it for a distance.

That photo sequence cost me about 400 psi and shortly after it my wrist was beeping enough to send me to my safety stop.

Today’s surface interval wasn’t sunbathing, but it did have some Mares gear highlights. Bill just got re-rigged with a new Mares hybrid pro tech bc and Stephanie put on a modular demonstration… right there on the dive boat.

IMG_2488It’s a wing inflate with a separate backplate system that comes with a weight integrated jacket – all of which are their own piece.

You can mix and match modules, add additional pockets, move d-rings and totally customize and adjust this piece of gear.

Bill got setup for the way he likes it, he’s old school and dives with a weight belt, so the weight integrated jacket was removed by Steph in about 8 minutes while anchored.

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IMG_2513She’s a real Mares girl now, and so is Bill. There you have it, weight integrated or old school. Comfortable and customizable… and just wait until you hear Steph rage about the optional pocket.

After our Mares gear class, we Go-Pro’d up and rolled into our second dive.

There’s 3 dive sites at one mooring, the Caverns as well as Lionfish and Gilman walls.

This is where you see it all, from big reef sharks to fingertip-sized indonesian clownfish surrounded by vibrant coral – and there’s nobody better to host an open house on this reef than the family who started it all in Yap.IMG_2516

Instantly we were greeted by a strange little fish that hung with us from the surface to mid water – can anyone identify it?

None of us knew what it was, sometimes it was curled up and it looked like a baby eel, I’m hoping someone chimes in with some detail here, I’ve never seen anything like it.

With Watershots in hand, the girls followed Bill on a swim through tour through and under the reef.

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IMG_2630Pointing out ghost pipe fish, indonesian clown fish, mini rock mover wrasse, eels, porcelain crabs, anemone shrimp, even squat lobster under crynoids.

Yap Caverns is a macro shooters paradise, but it has high value wide angle targets as well, white tip reef sharks, big grouper, brilliant pinnacles with every color soft coral there is. Dramatic carpet anemone can be found at every depth.

The reef is loaded with little swarms of pink and yellow fish that come and go from holes in the reef.

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IMG_2583Bill, Patricia and Numie took turns pointing out exotic sea life. The whole family dives and anyone who wants to get the personal Acker tour of the reef can get it just about any day of the week.

Most weeks Bill puts up a special full day dive tour on Popou with Patricia and generally moor up at the Caverns to kick the action off.

The environment changes from a white sand bottom amphitheater to rich walls that drop hundreds of feet to a deeper white sand and coral pinnacle level of the reef.

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IMG_2639Below the amphitheater is a reef shark cleaning station that always has customers, today we saw white tips and some large grey reefs in the area.

After several days of Yap diving we’ve got the Suuntos dialed in and we can make almost half a dive now before someone’s alarm sounds.

The Caverns is such a rich site that you could spend three tanks here in one day and not see it all. The girls were so stoked that we already decided that Friday we’re going back.

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Coming up on almost 30 years in business, Bill and his family are still the same old operation that started out here with one boat.

The Ackers know Yap diving and good times.

Tomorrow we wake up and go freedive a plane wreck in the lagoon, then we’re going out with Jan, the dive op manager, to pet the reef sharks at Vertigo with snorkels, then with tanks.

Margo and Stephanie are diving the heck out of this island and we’re only half way done with this trip.

We’re hitting the reef at night and going back to the Caverns on Friday to get more of what we saw today.

This kind of diving doesn’t get old, I overheard Bill talking on the dock about the schedule and said, “If there’s another boat going down south again tomorrow and it’s nice out, I’d like to be on it”. Even after 15,000 dives here.

I think the Scuba Diver Girls love Yap, it looks like a party every time they are in the water.

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Stay tuned on the Scuba Diver Girls and the Manta Ray Bay facebook feeds and don’t miss out on a drawing where we’re giving away one of these dive packages. After tomorrow’s shark fiesta on the reef, I’m putting together a special shark dive package that you can click and reserve with a small deposit, good until the end of 2014. There’s more to come before Margo and Stephanie are done with their Yap 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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