Sitting Out the Corona Crisis on Yap – Bill’s Update #2

You will notice that we are in the 2nd week of updates on how we’re dealing with the corona virus (COVID-19) outbreak. In reality we’re in week #8 as the lock-down basically started on the 1st of February. We were hoping that it will be over soon, however instead of getting back to normal, the world around us has started to become more and more affected, resulting in this unreal situation.

Things have been tough and will be getting tougher, but as I mentioned last week, we are determined to come out of this crisis stronger and better. We also understand that you are hesitant to book your next trip to our beautiful island, but soon we are going to give you the opportunity to “lock down” a future credit and we’ll give you the list of 10 reasons “Not to come to Yap”.  We will also release our plans to reward those healthcare employees who are now fighting for others on the front line.  When this is over, we want to do our part to show them our appreciation for helping us survive this crisis.

During last year’s MantaFest (www.mantafest.com) program, we experimented with our first Blackwater dives and had excellent results.  As a result of these dives, I decided to try and make Blackwater diving a regular staple of Yap Divers’ dive offerings.  The people I spoke with all told me that the person to seek out was Mike Bartick of Crystal Blue Resort in Anilao, Philippines.  As luck would have it, Patricia and I have a condo not far from Anilao. So, in October of 2019, while my brother Pat was visiting, I reached out to Mike and he graciously invited us to visit him at his resort.

Mike was, and is, a real gem.  He not only took his time to explain everything about his Blackwater diving and what equipment he uses and where he gets his equipment, he also introduced me to Bonfire diving.  Bonfire diving is Blackwater diving but inside the reef and stationery as opposed to outside the reef and drifting.  Mike showed me the lights he uses in the Philippines and introduced me to Doug at Kraken Sports who was very helpful in getting the right lights, batteries and general information to us.  I must say, these lights are the BEST.

Equipped with 4 very powerful Kraken lights, we made custom aluminum holders which can be pushed into the sandy bottom and began searching for the best place to conduct Bonfire dives.  For us, as those of you have been here know, we have two seasons – Trade winds when the winds blow from the Northeast almost continually for 6 months and Non-Trade winds when there is little to no wind.  Being on the East side of the island means that the waters closest to the Manta Ray Bay Resort are rough for half the year.  The rough water precludes us from conducting Blackwater dives in the deep ocean outside the reef for half the year.  Thus, my fascination with Bonfire diving, which can be done inside the reef, and which should attract all kinds of interesting and weird creatures.

My son OP, our Dive Operations Manager, along with dive guides John, Mike, Charles and Ferr all joined me as we began conducting Bonfire Dives and taking guests along as volunteers.  To date, we have made seven dives in different places trying to find the perfect dive site.  We have seen lots of interesting creatures on each dive. These first seven dives have been in various locations close to Slow and Easy.  Our next two dives are scheduled for the Circus Wreck – Laura Marie.  COVID-19 has put that on hold as we are closed, boats on land in storage and employees fending for themselves.  As soon as the world gets back to normal, we will be full speed ahead in trying to find the perfect Bonfire dive site.

One of the few divers we still had in February was a very nice Dutchman Mr. Wijnand Vlierhuis  who shot some awesome images during one of the test dives. Here is a sample.

 

Picture taken during one of the Bonfire test dives a few minutes boat ride from Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers
Juvenile lobster taken by Wijnand Vlierhuis during one of the Bonfire dives

We are looking forward to finding the best Bonfire site as well as to the start of the Blackwater season.  We are ordering more lights, camera arms and rope from Doug in anticipation of the Trade winds ending in early June.  At that time, we will be heading towards the Yap Trench and conducting Blackwater dives in thousands of feet of water.  We invite anyone reading this to join us in helping to discover the best Bonfire dive sites and/or join us for the Blackwater 2020 season.

In closing, I want to let everyone know that we have just released a new dive site video produced by our good friend Andy Schumacher of  Schumacher films.  This can be viewed on our YouTube Channel

If you enjoy this video, please be sure to subscribe to our channel which will provide you with an alert every time we release a new video.

Looking forward to your reactions to this post and I promise to personally reply to all comments on FB. Please share the FB post with all your dive buddies, friends, colleagues and family. Please understand that I have given you my promise to personally reply, but bear in mind I still have my Stone Money Brewery routine of Drink, Pee, Repeat so there could be slight delays.

 

Three generations of the Acker family
Stay Safe!! – the Acker Family

 

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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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