The warm, crystal clear water and the incredible richness and variety of the ocean life makes Yap a great place for snorkeling.
Snorkelers are welcome right alongside the scuba divers on all boats departing to dive sites both on the reef and within the lagoon. On most of our sites, the reef starts very near the surface and can be appreciated by snorkeler and diver alike. However, we would like to caution all snorkelers that swimming from the ocean-side onto the reef is best left to good swimmers/experienced snorkelers even on the calmer days.
For those snorkelers preferring the calmest waters, we have many pristine sites wholly within the lagoon. These sites can place the reef and all it’s fish right next to the mask of the surface swimmer.
Snorkeling charters are available every day and can be booked directly at the dive shop. Access to a few of our best sites can be restricted at low tide. It’s best to arrange your charter one day early so we can plan to get you out at the best possible time.
Almost all of Yap’s shallow lagoon is a delight to swimmers and snorkelers. The following is a brief sampling of the snorkeling sites that we feel highlight the best of the tropical seas and yet are still within easy reach of the boats operating out of Colonia.
Manta Ridge and Mi’l Channel
See the Dive Site Directory for a detailed description of these sites from a scuba divers point of view. In addition, many snorkelers have been thrilled by the Manta experience simply by hanging onto a rope behind the boat at anchor over the ridge. If you want to venture away from the Manta area, the shallow lagoon floor just north and south of Mi’l is teeming with reef fish and brightly colored corals.
Gabach Garden Walls
Almost 10 miles of magnificent corals line the top of the walls along Gabach Channel. The variety of coral and reef fish seems almost endless. The corals start on the lagoon floor at about 3 ft. (1 M) and continue over the wall lining the channel down to about 15 ft. (4.5 M). After that, there is a sandy slope to the bottom of the channel. In addition to the hosts of reef fish, small white tip reef sharks and turtles have been sighted.
For snorkelers, the lagoon floor just North of the channel entrance offers an interesting contrast to the walls of Gabach. In only 3 to 10 feet of water (1 – 3 M), hard coral bommies sitting on a sandy bottom provide many small nooks and crannies to explore.
The Blue Holes of Tomil
Starting at about 40 ft. (12 M) near the reef and decreasing in depth as you head towards the Tomil Men’s House, there are many sandy holes on the floor of the lagoon. These holes contain large hard coral bommies and are often surrounded by fields of staghorn. Many stingrays come in to rest in the shallower sandy holes (10 to 15′) near shore. Although very skittish around scuba divers, these graceful rays will usually only swim slowly away from the surface swimmers. Visibility in this area is best on an incoming tide.
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