Shark School Hammerhead Expedition

We embarked on a shark hunt this morning, seeking an elusive school of Hammerheads seen just a few times here. Seems that shark school has all the stops pulled out on the diving schedule, not many guests want to get up early and head out for deep current dive in the dark.


Hammerheads have been seen in Yap in one location under the right conditions. This isn’t a dive done often and it requires an adventurous group of divers. The two conditions are sunrise and incoming tide, natural cycles that don’t always coincide, however today was spot on.

IMG_0437About ten minutes by boat from the hotel is a deep reef that’s not part of the Pacific side barrier.

It’s a separate seamount shaped like a crescent and it’s called Crescent Reef, of all things.

During the last hour of a big incoming high tide we rolled into 20 meters of water in between the two reefs and kicked against the current out into the dark blue with over a hundred feet of visibility.

The dive plan was to find the western tip of the deep reef and kick out into the blue and hold approximately 30 meters of depth. This sounded much better on the dive dock, after being there with over a hundred feet of water above us and another hundred or so to the floor below us was a rich experience as the sun rose over the Pacific.

IMG_0446Most of us pulled down half a tank by the time we got to the area we were looking for, but we were on a shark hunt which requires a different stroke.

We didn’t see Hammerheads today and the dive turned out to be the equivalent of an uphill hike, but that’s nature.

At mid dive, the good news was that all we had to do was nothing and the incoming tide would carry us back to the island.

Today is a three tank day for shark schoolers, after this we went back to the dock and warmed up with coffee and breakfast and met the rest of the guests coming downstairs on their schedule. The return drift was done at recreational depths and it was a 30 minute ride back to the main reef. White tip sharks and  a giant marble ray were seen on the sand bottom below along with fish schools and we saw a 3-foot dogface puffer fish.


The last class lecture talked about circumstances, environments and how to sum up a shark situation around shorelines, river mouths and in murky water.

Another big topic was about  uncovering natural shark disposition with human beings. Some of Dr. Erics videos demonstrated high shark intelligence with examples of unaggressive behavior. Some of the content showed Bull sharks being hand-fed, which illustrates behavior and disposition characteristics for a predator of that size. That would be like feeding polar bears pinguins wearing only a glove.

There’s a lot of learning going on and guests are impressed with how much knowledge is being passed each day and the divers have been satisfied with the proximity, consistency and numbers of shark encounters here on Yap. Asking around at the breakfast table it seems that some European feedback was the Red Sea, Maldives and other popular exotic dive destinations show a decreasing number of sharks while diving. In Yap you still see impressive numbers of large mature animals of multiple species, as well as baby and adolescents on almost every dive demonstrating a healthy population.

This afternoon the school is going to Vertigo with bait for a shark dive where you can rub elbows with Black Tips and Grey reef sharks over the reef in the Philippine Sea. We also had another group come in on the last plane which doubled the class size, there’s still several days to go, more classes and another 10 or so dives before the week concludes.

Fingers are crossed to get the group a 10+ foot pelagic, we’re still hoping to pull up a Sivertip from the deep down at the southern tip before this party ends.

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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
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
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