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Member Since 20 Feb 2011
Offline Last Active Jun 25 2012 02:20 PM

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Manta Ray Bay-Yap

24 June 2012 - 04:23 AM

I'm still amazed to find such a well run operation on the other side of the world. Great staff at the resort, restaurant, dive shop, everywhere just super friendly. Bill and his team have really set a high bar in such an off the beaten path area. The diving was just super with the Captain and DM totally flexible and helpful in finding great diving spots. It didn't matter where we wanted to go or what we asked for no trip was off the table. I once wanted to do a Mandarin fish dive and was the only person who wanted to go out, no problem off we went just me and the DM and the Captain. They let me spend all the time I wanted taking tons of pictures of these amazing looking fish. Conditions could not have been better, just flat calm. Tons of marine life. After one Manta dive (we did 2 and had great success on both) we stopped over a reef to snorkel. While looking over the side we could see a turtle swim by. The DM got our attention in time to see 3 juvenile sharks chasing each other in a circle off the other side of the boat. While snorkeling a woman from our group yelled "manta!" and as I looked down a large manta was swimming underneath us. Just another typical day in Yap. Practically every trip we were chased by dolphins or pilot whales or whatever, man this is some sort of place. On one dive we must have seen 40 sharks in a school, bump head parrots everywhere, sting rays, crocodile fish, nudibranchs, you name it. This is one of the best ran dive operations I have seen in the last 25 years.

Breakfast is buffet style with plenty of good coffee, juice, fresh fruit, eggs to order, etc. We were usually done diving in time for a late lunch and a cold beer from their own micro brewery from on top on the Minu, a restored Indonesian wooden ship permanently moored on site. The only thing I would have asked for was a more varied menu as lunch and dinner choices were the same but we celebrated an anniversary and the staff came up with a special meal just for us and on just a few hours notice so not too shabby. The resort is well maintained and there seemed to be constant work being done painting and making repairs or whatever and it showed. There are a couple of restaurants across the street from the resort and they are a nice alternative as well. You would have to look pretty hard to find a better run or friendlier resort than Manta Ray Bay Resort.

We did a cultural tour that the resort set up and it was great. We visited a traditional village and met the people who told of us their history and demonstrated how they use to live (in some cases still do for the most part). Well worth it.

This is our first time to Micronesia but we are already planning our next trip. We broke this trip up by going to Tokyo for a few days on the way over. I'd suggest maybe Hawaii for a couple of days going over and coming back which would cut the travel time in half from the Midwest (7 hour flight to Guam from Hawaii and 1 hour to Yap). I've always wanted to dive an area like this and now that I have I realize it is very affordable and worth skipping a trip to the Caribbean if that is what you have to do. Give Manta Ray Bay a try and you wont be disappointed.

UW Photography Comments: No camera bucket on the boat as it was small but I had brought a collapsible cooler and each morning the guides would fill it with fresh water for me so I was more than fine with that setup as I didn't have to worry about other cameras or someone using the camera bucket to rinse a mask as everyone knew my DSLR was in my personal cooler. I would really recommend this little trick for anyone serious about their equipment. The camera area at the dive shop was great for cleaning up the photo gear and I really loved the large countertop in my room which provided tons of room for working on the camera setup and charging batteries. Also, the crew was great about how to handle my camera. I showed the DM Gordon once where to pickup the rig (a lanyard I attach to my Ultra-light arms) and he made sure that the Captain knew in case either one handed me the beast. Really top notch. Here is a link to some pics.