Positive Signs – Bill’s Update #4
While sitting here on my porch with a nice cup of coffee, watching the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean and trying to decide what to write to all of you very special people, it dawned on me just how lucky we are here in Yap to have such good Internet connections to the world. Without the Internet, we would have very little clue as to what is happening beyond the reef. In the old days, our news came via radio and the Voice of America. Now, we can follow world events live and sitting here, it is my understanding that most of the world is beginning to come out of lockdown and working to slowly bring life back to normal. At least that is my hope of what is happening, and I wish to urge anyone reading this that the virus is not yet contained so please continue to be safe and stay well.
In Yap, we have managed to avoid the virus altogether. We have had people quarantined and we did have a curfew for a few weeks but all is back to normal now and we are still Corona-free, have been since the beginning and we will remain Corona-free for the foreseeable future due to the absence of passenger flights. No divers or other visitors, but at least life here has remained reasonably “normal”. If you have followed my previous blogs on the subject, you will know that most of our employees have been laid-off since early March. This has been a big strain on my family and I as these are not just employees. They are trusted associates, friends and in some cases blood relatives but all are thought of as family. Worrying about their health and well being and that of their children has not been the easiest but there is now a bright light at the end of this tunnel.
We are thankful that the National Government has devised a scheme to support affected businesses and while the assistance is but a fraction of the revenue lost, it is enough to keep us floating. More importantly though is that our employees will start receiving unemployment benefits from the National Government. We are the first company on Yap that is going to be able to assist our employees with unemployment benefits and all those who are eligible will get those benefits within a few weeks. We keep trying to support our employees, but there is a limit to what we can do, so I am very happy that they will get unemployment benefits soon.
For those who have not read, or received our special newsletter, I want to share with you our new, relaxed booking policies. The deposit to confirm your booking has been reduced from 25% to 10%, final payment is now due 30 days prior to arrival as opposed to the previous 60 and we will provide full refunds for all monies paid in case of a cancellation due to Coronavirus.
Awards Season has started, and we are asking for your support to vote for us in two award competitions. The first one is organized by Condé Nast Traveller and by clicking this link you can nominate us for their 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards. Please note that voting is open only until May 31st.
Scuba Diving Magazine is asking their readers to nominate the best dive resorts and dive shops for their 2021 Readers Choice Awards. Please remember us when casting your vote by clicking this link. Voting ends on June 7th.
I promised to give you the list of 10 reasons “Not to come to Yap”, but instead of giving them to you all at once, I’ll give one with each blog post during this Coronavirus crisis. Last time I gave reason #1.
1) 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 come to Yap”
2) If you are looking for long boat rides to get to the dive sites, don’t come to Yap. Most of our dive sites are within a 20-minute boat ride, while our mandarin fish, night & bonfire dives are not even 5 minutes from the dock.
Our donation to the frontline healthcare workers is getting very nice results as we have received 85 nominations to date. We are inviting our past guests and followers to nominate people they know who have been working hard in the fight against Covid-19. We will select 20 people and provide them with the chance to relax and refresh with seven nights in an Ocean View Room and five days of diving at Manta Ray Bay Resort & Yap Divers. To nominate your “Healthcare Hero” please go to this page on our website.
As you all know, I’m probably the biggest fan of our home brew and tend to brag on it to anyone who will listen. Well, now I have proof, as we have been awarded a Silver Medal in one of the most esteemed international competitions in the world.
Every year in Lyons, France, the capital of French gastronomy, the Concurs International de Lyons Wine, Beer and Spirits Competition showcases the world’s top libations to decide which are the best of the best. The Lyon International Competition judges 70 categories of beer and, according to the event’s website, “meets strict organizational rules with storage conditions optimal, a classification of beers that takes into account many criteria, a blind tasting, a control of the selected tasters and a rating grid.”
My buddy Greg Wilson and I may have been the ones to start to brew Manta Gold in my wife Patricia’s kitchen some 21 years ago, but without the help of Ian Ward from London, England, who set-up the brewery and developed the recipes and the constant dedication of our brew master, Fredy Gull from Zurich, Switzerland, we wouldn’t have our own award winning beer today. Just writing this makes me thirsty.
Parting shot for our regular newsletter subscribers.