Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay – Bill’s Update #11

Initially my plan was to write a blog every three-to-four-weeks, but scrolling through the Facebook posts, I realized it has been eight weeks or so since the last time you heard from me. Is there nothing to share with you? On the contrary, lots of developments are in progress, but none of them give us the answer to the question: “When?”.

Over 50% of the population on Yap-proper has received its COVID19 vaccine. That is awesome, but we are also blessed with several beautiful outer islands whose people, culture and history are such an important part of our State. None of the almost 2,000 people living there have been vaccinated. I do not have to go into the details for you to understand that getting our brothers and sisters on the outer islands vaccinated is an incredibly complex task.  Because of this nightmare, only 37% of Yap Sate has been vaccinated. A vaccination rate many other countries and states would be very happy with, but still far from the 70% threshold that the President of the FSM has set.

The 70% vaccination target will allow the country to repatriate the FSM citizens stranded in Palau, Guam, the Marshall Islands and the US Mainland.  Some of these people have been away from their homes and families for over a year now.  My opinion, and it is just that, is that until the citizens in Guam are repatriated, nothing will happen in terms of lifting the FSM travel ban.  In fact, I believe that the government will wait several months after repatriating citizens from Guam. It will have an observation period before it decides how to proceed with the travel ban.  Also, keep in mind that the original travel ban, which was extended at least three times, states that residents from any country with active Covid-19 cases are not permitted to enter the FSM.  This ban also includes transiting countries with active cases. Should a ban like this be reinstated, that leaves out visitors from most countries worldwide.  This is going to be interesting, and I will do my best to keep you updated as to the answer to the big question: “When?”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A graphic of where Yap stands in terms of the vaccine program

A new era of transportation is coming to Yap. The first of two Pacific Mission Aviation (PMA) Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft is on its way to Yap. Having these aircraft here will not only help the important missionary work PMA does daily but will also improve the medical evacuations for those who need to be airlifted to Palau or Manila.  These pressurized turbo prop planes will also allow easier access for our divers to either fly in via Palau or combine Yap and Palau. There is also a plan for a Guam-Yap route. As you can imagine, this multi-leg journey to bring the planes from the mainland US, Alaska, over the Bering Sea and many more stops, is quite an adventure.  We at the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers look forward to working with the fine people of PMA to arrange for needed air service for our divers. This will make it much easier to add Yap to your next dive vacation.  Big plans are in the discussion stage.  Stay tuned for more as our plans and news progress. All in all, this is an impressive achievement by the employees of the Public Health Department and our friends at Pacific Mission Aviation but unfortunately, still no answer to the question: “When?”.

 

 

 

 

 

Won’t she look great landing in Yap with 9 divers and all of their gear?

In the week of April 11th to the 18th we saw a tropical depression developing East/South-East of us. The initial forecast models didn’t look good. We were forced to mobilize all the staff, stop current hotel projects and start securing several parts of our operation, buildings and inventory. The two boats that were still moored were moved to the workshop in Gitam.  We also moved room inventory from the 1st floor rooms, secured the Mnuw for a possible direct hit, moved the dive dock to the dive boat moorings and secured the solar panels. I am very proud of our team acting so quickly to ensure everything was secured as much as it could be before the depression hit Yap. Luckily for us, what eventually turned into Super Typhoon Surigae, changed its course enough for us to experience heavy rains and strong winds but no real damage.

Hope I am not giving you the impression that we’re all in misery here and feeling depressed. Not at all, I just miss you all. I miss the diving with those who take the long journey to Yap to dive with us, I miss meeting old friends and making new ones, I miss sipping a Two-Step at the Stammtisch area on the Mnuw, but at the same time I realize how fortunate we are.

The other day I was spending a bit of time with my family and for some reason the late great Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay” came to my mind.  Here I am having fun with the little people, as I call OP’s kids, my other two grandkids who are here with us in Yap and my family all the while still sipping a frothy Two-Step.  As my late Filipino “brother” Bro Vic would say: “life’s good”.

Enjoying quality time with my family while sipping a two step on the dock of the bay

Although I do not have the answer to the question: “When?”, I am still hopeful that we will be allowed to open again before the end of this year. Whether it will be October, or December I truly do not know. Vaccination rates are promising, building the quarantine facilities that will allow us to bring stranded citizens home will start soon and Caroline Islands Air is flying between the different (COVID19-free) FSM states. These are all positive signs.  Whether they are positive enough to allow the government leaders to open our borders is the question and I don’t think anyone has the answer to that now.

Until we know the answer to the question: “When?” let’s give you another reason “not to come to Yap”, but first a recap of the first 6 reasons.

“Reason #1 Not to come to Yap”

If you like crowded dive sites, don’t come to Yap. … with barely 1,000 divers a year visiting Yap, all dive sites are exclusively for you and your dive buddies.

“Reason #2 Not to come to Yap”

If you are looking for long boat rides to get to the dive sites, don’t come to Yap.

“Reason #3 Not to come to Yap”

If you don’t like to discover and encounter a wide range of marine life during your dives, don’t come to Yap.

“Reason #4 Not to come to Yap”

If you don’t like that your room, the dive shop, the dive boat dock, the bar/restaurant, and all other facilities are within a maximum of 2 minutes “walk”, don’t come to Yap.

“Reason #5 Not to come to Yap”

If you want to limit the type of dives you like to do, don’t come to Yap.

“Reason #6 Not to come to Yap”

If you want to be on an island full of nightlife, casinos, discos, and high-traffic tourism areas, don’t come to Yap.

“Reason #7 Not to come to Yap”

If you don’t like mantas, don’t come to Yap.

We are blessed with a permanent population of mantas that live in the waters of Yap year ‘round, as they are reef mantas and do not travel far off the coast. From late December through April, they are mating. During that period, they are on the West side of the island and their behavior is different. In mating season, you are more likely to see mantas in larger groups chasing each other and “dancing” as part of their mating behavior. After the mating season, they migrate to the East side of the island. On both West and East sides of the island, we dive at cleaning stations which are coral formations home to various types of cleaner wrasse who wait for the mantas to arrive.  For mantas, it’s all about eating and cleaning and we get to see them do this activity on a regular basis.

Until next time, stay safe, take care of yourselves and your families and do not hesitate to contact me if there is any way I can be of assistance with your Micronesian travel plans.  My e-mail is: bill@mantaray.com and I would appreciate hearing from you.

 

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Michael Wüthrich
Michael Wüthrich
09:27 24 Jun 20
Awesom dive experience. we dived for a week with Yap divers and every dive was varied and very beautiful. We benefited from the pre-corona time in March which meant that there were very few tourists on Yap. (3...)read more
R. Frobhboese
R. Frobhboese
06:21 13 May 20
We have been twice at Manta Ray Bay. The staff was exzellent dive guides as well as people on the Mnuw, not to mention the Amber👌 The sharks at Vertigo and the Mantas at Stammtisch are a must for every diver. We hope to be back!read more
Fariborz Zak
Fariborz Zak
07:03 12 May 20
Wonderful lovely place worth to try it again
Keenan Woodmansee
Keenan Woodmansee
07:09 04 Jan 20
This is "The" place to stay. Friendly staff and great hotel and restaurant.
Sandie Chung
Sandie Chung
13:30 11 Dec 19
My fourth time to Manta Ray Bay Resort in Yap since 1995. Hotel still very well kept, spacious room, good services and dive centre, very well run. Enjoy my dives very much with crystal clear water, mantas, sharks and even some macros. Wish they have better flight schedules to make it easier for visitors. Love to be back again.read more
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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