Our time in Yap has come to an end. We would like to thank the entire staff of the Manta Ray Bay Hotel and Yap Divers for hosting us for the first two weeks of Manta Fest 2008.
HDR shot of the Manta Ray Bay Hotel
We had several Wetpixel members arrive over the previous few days and have had some great dives with them so far. Todd Mintz (aka Yasemtough) was welcomed in proper Yapese fashion with an up close and personal visit from Valerina, one of the friendliest mantas here. As she moved slowly toward the cleaning station, she decided to check out Todd instead. With a few graceful beats of her wings, she hovered inches away from Todd’s camera for at least a minute and reveled in the feel of his bubbles on her belly. He most certainly nailed a few close up shots there, and of course, he now wants to be known as “Manta Boy”.
Manta ray over cleaning station
Everyone also got to participate in one of Yap Divers’ signature shark feeds at Vertigo. Although the grey reef sharks are a lot smaller than are the tiger sharks at Tiger Beach, Vertigo makes up for it in sheer numbers; 40 to 50 sharks were in attendance with a beautiful deep blue backdrop. This was certainly a highlight of the week for everyone.
Shark feed at Vertigo
The gang took a break from the dives to do a small exploratory tour of Yap on Monday afternoon. Highlights included visiting a stone money bank, a men’s House, and of course, chewing a bit of betel nut. Although we have had some rain on most days, the weather was brilliant for the tour and photo ops were plenty.
Neil Rosewarn at the stone money farm
Eric has shown some very interesting slideshows over the last few days, including one on the tropical reefs of S.E Asia/Oceania as well as a show on the eastern Pacific hotspots of Galapagos, Cocos, Malpelo, and the Revillagigedos. Mike showed slideshows of Indonesia and the Pacific as well as a video montage of mantas from Yap. As always, the shows turned into great social occasions, as they were hosted on the Mnuw bar and restaurant, allowing everyone to mingle and talk.
Mike Veitch gives his camera some lovin’
On Tuesday, our last evening here, we organized a final evening slideshow and video presentation by Mike and Eric, featuring images contributed by all Manta Fest participants. The slideshow was a very entertaining affair with some funny people shots interspersed with great images from everyone. The quality of photos taken over the last couple of weeks was very high and it seems everyone came away with some high quality manta images as well as great macro shots. We have come to the conclusion that Mike looks pretty silly in every photo ever taken of him.
Following the slide show, Mike presented a video of the week with some great time-lapse photography montages from Eric. Our tribute to Jan, the dive shop manager, was the highlight of the show and he took the ribbing very well. Thanks Jan! Mike was able to capture some great interactions between divers and mantas as well as exciting shark feed action.
Anemonefish with eggs
And with the final show, our time on the island came to a close. We would like to thank everyone who we dove with these past two weeks, and it was great to meet some new folks and put some faces to Wetpixel names. This is not the end of Manta Fest, however. Marty Snyderman and Eric Hanauer have arrived this morning and will continue on with afternoon seminars and evening presentations for the next two weeks. Here’s to more great diving and manta action for the next 14 days!
Bill Acker relaxes in the pool
- [Manta Fest 2008 Closing Words]
- [Manta Fest 2008 Day 7 Update]
- [Manta Fest 2008 Day 5 Update]
- [Manta Fest 2008 Day 3 Update]
- [Manta Fest 2008 Day 1 Update]