Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers Corporation

P.O. Box MR, 96943 Yap
1 Manta Ray Road, 96943 Yap

Telephone +691 350 2300
Fax +691 350 4567


Hall map

boot 2017 hall map (Hall 3): stand E62

Fairground map

boot 2017 fairground map: Hall 3

Our range of products

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  • 08  Diving
  • 08.02  Services (Diving)

Our products

Product category: Services (Diving)

Critter Diving

Tiny creatures have always been a part of the philosophy of Yap Divers, supported with repeating photo events like the “Critter Hunt.” The diversity of the smaller reef inhabitants never ceases to surprise our guests. Generally little critters like ghostly white mantis shrimps, scorpion leaf fishes and (ghost) pipe fishes are not this far out in the Pacific, but just off Manta Ray Bay Resort and the Mnuw mandarin fishes, pipe fishes, razorfishes and shrimps & gobies live in symbiosis.

On the other hand, Rainbow Reef off “O’Keefe’s Island” gained quite some fame for its number of mandarin fishes. Actually, the place is only a ten minutes boat ride away from Manta Ray Bay Resort and hosts one of the largest population in the world. Forget about all these dives in which a guide desperately tries to get two scared l ittle fishes out of the coral head! Rainbow Reef is different. Located in only 3-7 meters depths, a number of staghorn corals is home to certainly more than 40 mandarinfishes. Mating takes place almost every evening – given, you don’t scare them away with a strong torch! – and if “your” couple gets out of sight, your guide is very likely to present you another one pretty quickly.

Rainbow Reef actually is a good example why Yap in terms of biodiversity is very special: located close to the “real” coral reefs, the place also borders the immediate coastline, which in Yap is covered by mangroves by 90 percent. While the muddy water surrounding the mangroves makes the water pretty murky, there are species that do not occur in coral reefs such as the archer fish, which is notorious for shooting insects off roots and branches. There are probably species hidden there that were not even discovered yet. Not only does this very different ecosystem host unique species, the mangroves in fact bring a lot of nutrition into the coastal areas, the channels and the inner reef, thus sustaining the food chain up to the manta rays. This is why the inner reefs are most suitable for macro diving.

One of our most popular spots for small creatures is “Slow & Easy” on the inner reef. The parcours between two buoys does hardly measure 50 meters, but it is still good for a hundered minutes dive! Apart from the “standard” reef species of the West-Pacific one can spot pipe fishes, ghost pipe fishes and a variety of nudibranches. The rubble patch where the dive is usually finished hosts big numbers of again at least two different combinations of symbiotic gobies and burrowing shrimps. Look out for a hole with the size of a tennis ball – this is where a big white mantis shrimp lives (another one can be found in Goofnuw Channel, close to the cleaning station in the “Valley of the Rays.”) Just before you reach this place, look out for a large wire coral. Usually you can find either gobies and/or crabs on there. Even though it is far from macro, this description is hardly complete without mentioning the small resident hawksbill turtles that can be very curious at times.

At nighttime, the scene in “Slow & Easy” changes tremendously. While most reef fishes hide from their predators, animals such as crinoids, starfishes as well as various kinds of crabs, shrimps and (squat) lobsters come out of their shelter. Many of these nocturnal species are very well camouflaged, transparent or simply well-hidden. Your guide will assist you in finding fantastic little stuff as for instance harlequin crabs, which live on sea cucumbers, emperor shrimps on wire corals or partner shrimps living in anemones.

The “Critter Hunt” goes on… Or to say it with the words of Andy Sallmon, a veteran underwater photo pro, “I could dive this spot [“Yap Caverns”] for a week! Tell me about another place where you have caves and swim-throughs, a sheltered coral garden and a drop off, sharks and other big fish on one hand and on the other pipe fishes and a lot of shrimps in the wire and soft corals.”

if you are in Yap and keen on critters, please let the guides know and ask them to show you the creatures. They do know best where to find them!

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Product category: Services (Diving)

Manta Ray Diving in Yap

Yap is gifted with it’s manta ray presence – it’s still one of the only places in the world where you have a great chance of diving with a manta ray any day of the year.

In the winter months the Manta diving is exciting, this is the time when you see small groups of rays and their courtship behavior, mantas dancing.

When you experience a mating train within arm’s reach or mantas balling together in courtship, it’s a “ten” for anyone’s dive log.

Mantas are frequently seen on drift dives transiting channels and there’s occasional outer reef deep blue water encounters. The most common and longest interactions happen at shallow cleaning stations where divers get buzzed by circling rays.

You can go manta diving every day here in small groups at sites inside the reef on calm water after short boat rides, just minutes from the hotel dock.

The manta presence is so strong that Yap State is a field research site for Manta Trust. Our rays are being identified, measured and indexed in a custom database for the conservation of all Micronesian manta rays.

Check out this season’s manta diving:
  • Manta Mating Season Dive Photos – photos and dive report from Stammtisch in January
  • Yap Big Animal Diving – shots and story from Vertigo and Stammtisch during mating season
  • Yap’s Manta Ray Conservation – Yap State is the world’s first manta ray sanctuary protecting the water and habitat of mantas
  • Manta and Shark double tank – Yap is home to one of the best big animal two-tank dive days there is with mantas and sharks at the right time
  • Early summer mantas – Valley of the Rays is open during the summer offering a channel dive manta experience

How we do it
We make a dive to a cleaning station and remain stationary at the bottom, and the Mantas come to us.

The Mantas approach, more often than not two or three at a time, and hover at the cleaning station. The Cleaning Wrasse get into the action and nibble away at parasites in the gills and on the skin, getting a free meal while the Manta gets rid of uninvited and irritating guests.

The Mantas will be as close as a few feet from the divers, and the action often goes on for quite some time. The shallow depth and the divers remaining stationary at the cleaning station allows for extended dive times, a typical dive can last 55 to 75 minutes with several Mantas or groups of Mantas being “serviced” at arms length – cleaning station encounters are outstanding for photography. This is an experience that cannot be put in words.

Some simple rules for the dives:

  • We NEVER touch the mantas. They don’t like it, and we respect that.
  • We don’t use video lights.
  • Avoid hanging on to living coral. There’s plenty of rock and dead coral.
  • Avoid blowing large bubbles under the mantas.

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Product category: Services (Diving)

Yap Shark Diving

Yap is a world-class location for diving with reef sharks. Thanks to our healthy shark stocks, encounters with the three most common species, – Grey Reef Shark, Blacktip Reef Shark, Whitetip Reef Shark, are almost guaranteed during a one week stay. In fact, those shark species had been seen on almost every dive site around the island.

Manta Ray Bay makes your Shark Day happpen
With more than two decades of professional shark diving under the belt, Yap Divers will do the best to ensure you will enjoy your encounters with the gracious “tigers of the sea.” Apart from the Whitetip Reef Shark, who can often be observed resting on the bottom of the reef, most encounters will begin with an animal passing below or in front of you in the open water. Depending on the interest of the shark it will either leave the scene, or come closer to investigate you. Usually, a distance of three meters is sufficient for most sharks to make use of their sensing organs, the “Ampullae of Lorenzini” and “lateral line.” However, it is always possible that a shark approaches you at a closer distance, which is NO reason to feel threatened.

Vertigo… A Manta Ray Bay Diving Must
A definite “must-do” for shark friends is our shark feeding at Vertigo Reef. The sharks are already present on spot, but once the chumsickle is in the water their elegant semblance rapidly changes for their hunting mode. More than 15 reef sharks, mostly Grey and Blacktip Reef Sharks, will speed up to get their share of the bait as the divers sit still on the balcony formed by an array of dead hard corals. Note that the sharks are very much focussed on the bait, they hardly seem to notice the divers.

We take great pride in our professional shark feedings – in all of our 25 years we have never had an accident with the animals. Many pro photographers and videographers worked with Yap Divers because we can provide and handle the rare opportunity to really get eye-on-eye with the sharks. This is clearly something you really should not miss out to make your Yap experience complete!

Most Common Shark species to Yap Divers

Grey Reef Shark
Behavior towards divers – The popular “territorial behavior“ associated with hunching, threat displays and fake attacks is uncommon around Yap’s main island even though this body language was first described relatively close to Yapese waters in the Marshall Islands.
Yap – Yap has a healthy population, that are usually more restricted to the outer reef, but they can also be seen in the Mi’l and Goofnuw channels. Big numbers are more regular on the West coast like Yap Corner (incoming water), where we often see small juveniles! Encounters are also frequent in Yap Caverns once you enter their territory off the slope in 80ft (25m). However the biggest population is found at Vertigo at depths lesser than 45ft (15m). This spot is not only used for our shark feeding, but also serves as mating ground for Yap’s population of the Grey Reef Shark. The staff of Yap Divers & Manta Visions witnessed and filmed gatherings of more than 40 specimens in recent years. – Wikipedia

White Tip Reef Shark
Behavior towards divers – Highly individual. Some animals will avoid divers and swim away when approached, others do allow divers to get as close as a few inches. The species is considered harmless, still it is a wild animal that should never be cornered.
Yap – In Yap, this shark is an abundant and can be seen virtually everywhere, even close to the mangroves and in the vicinity of Manta Ray Bay Resort. The bottom of reef channels like Mi’l and Goofnuw (between 30-72ft) is home to a number of white tips. On these spots, it is not uncommon to see more than 5 white tips in one dive. Larger specimens are usually seen swimming by on outer reef sites like Yap Corner, Yap Caverns, or in the Main Channel. – Wikipedia

Black Tip Reef Shark
Behavior towards divers – The species is not considered dangerous for humans, still it should be treated with respect as it can be very inquisitive, especially when there is food in the water.
Yap – In Yap, this shark species is more often seen on the Western side of the island. Even though it can be seen in various places like for instance in Yap Caverns, Vertigo is the prime spot to go. The reef flat of this place is a territory for 5-10 black tip reef shark that can be most often seen in depths less than 30ft (10m) since the deeper part of the reef is inhabited by grey reef sharks, which dominate over the smaller and less bulky black tip reef sharks. – Wikipedia

Sharks Galore
In addition to Grey Black and White tip reef sharks, 12 other species have been known to make friends here in Yap including Oceanic White tip, Oceanic Silver tip, Nurse, Lemon, Scalloped Hammerhead, Silky, Leopard, Tiger, and Whale shark .

Behavior towards divers – An encounter with a silky shark is a rare event (Silkies are true open-water species). Silky sharks are not known to be an aggressive species, but divers should keep calm when they are being checked out by this beautiful hunter. The calm nature of silkies quickly changes for the worse when carcasses of big fishes, oceanic whitetips (these two, rival against each other), or when whales are around.
Yap – There are plenty of silkies in Yap’s offshore waters and around Hunter’s Seamount. This is the most abundant shark species seen feeding on bait balls, and they often scavenge on hooked tunas and jacks as experienced by us on a regular basis. As a pelagic shark, the silky rarely makes incursions to the coastal reef, but sometimes one or two show up when a shark feeding takes place in Vertigo. – Wikipedia

Whale Shark
Behavior towards divers – The biggest fish in the world can be moody: most whale shark “veterans” suggest that there three kinds of whale sharks: 1) players, 2) travellers, 3) ignorant ones. Whale sharks can be approached both with SCUBA or snorkel. There is no need to try to interact with a “traveller” type of whale shark; they can be so much faster than they appear to be when seen on TV.
Yap – Contrary to public belief, scientist have disapproved the theory that whale sharks follow migratory patterns throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. There are however hotspots for the species, and Yap is not one of them. On the other hand sightings occur every year, mostly around the Southern tip of the island, between Land’s End and Yap Caverns. – Wikipedia

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