Manta Ray Bay Resort and its dive centre, Yap Divers, lies on the island of Yap in Micronesia. It has a fabulous scuba diving pedigree, and you could argue that the centre is responsible for making Yap the international diving destination it is today. Bill Acker opened Yap Divers in 1986 and with few exceptions, discovered and named each of the dive sites you will visit. With over 9000 dives worth of experience in these waters, you can be sure you are in good hands. Bill and his family built the resort with divers in mind and are hands-on every day to ensure that every guest’s needs are met.
Without a doubt, this is a diver’s paradise with over 30 dive sites surrounding the island. Famed for manta rays, Yap is one of the few locations in the world where you can almost guarantee sightings any day of the year. With very healthy shark populations you’ll be treated to grey reef, black tip, and white tip shark encounters as you go about your diving day. There’s also a healthy slice of macro critters to be discovered too; your very experienced guides will ensure you don’t miss a thing.
Yap Island has a fascinating history and a rich culture which the islanders work hard to maintain. As a guest of the Manta Ray Bay Resort, you are invited to learn about both. See how the islanders have selectively chosen western improvements to compliment rather than eliminate their way of life. Stone Money is an interesting concept that involves trading massive stone discs up to 12 feet in diameter. This currency is still in use today for land trading and dowries.
The resort is spread over three floors and incorporates the dive centre and all facilities into the complex so that you are only steps away from everything you need. Three room categories are available and all are uniquely named and themed for marine life and ocean creatures. Their themes add a little bit of fun, individuality and a splash of vibrant reef colour to your dive vacation accommodations. Expect ocean themed soft furnishings and clean, and bright décor. All rooms are air-conditioned and have a ceiling fan too. If you need your fix, each room features a TV and DVD player, phone and internet access. Tap water is drinkable, and tea and coffee are complimentary.
Standard Rooms feature either one or two queen-sized beds and have views of the hills and gardens facing away from the ocean. Ocean View Rooms, as you might expect, have spectacular views over the lagoon and again feature one or two queen sized beds, with the odd water bed thrown in for good measure. The Deluxe Ocean View Rooms are the top of the pile with king-sized beds and lots of space. Some feature private plunge pools, stone showers, and private rooftop Jacuzzis. With so much choice, ask your dive travel agent to help you reserve the best room for you scuba diving vacation to Manta Ray Bay.
The dining area here is simply delicious. Moored up in front of the dive centre and steps away from your room is a fabulously refurbished 100-year-old traditional 170ft long Phinisi schooner from Indonesia. Named the Mnuw, it boasts three decks for dining and 2 bars offering panoramic views. For those of you not familiar with this type of vessel you should expect a gorgeous and charming ambience of teak and rough-hewn beams providing a rich and cozy feel.
The menu is mouthwatering and incorporates Asian, local and European flavours. Choose from light bites and salads to burritos and tacos and soups, burgers and gourmet sandwiches. Pizza is freshly prepared in the Stone Money Pizza oven, and there’s a grill for steaks and fish. There’s a selection of hot and cold appetizers for you to nibble on as well we some devilish desserts to round off your feast. Vegetarian meals are available upon request so make sure your scuba diving travel agent passes on your requirements when you book.
The top deck houses the Crow’s Nest Bar from where you can enjoy the stunning views, sip cocktails or try beer brewed in Manta Ray Bay Resorts own micro-brewery named the Stone Money Brewery. The 600-litre brewery lies in the main resort buildings. It’s climate controlled, operated by a Swiss brew master and uses only the finest ingredients. You have the choice of two beers, Hammerhead Amber and Manta Gold; not many dive resorts go to this extent to make sure your hard earnt post diving tipple is sublime!
For entertainment, the Crow’s Nest Bar also has a huge screen mounted above the deck which shows films of the best diving in the area, guest’s productions as well as selections from the silver screen. There’s nothing quite like open air movies and watching from the deck here is truly unique.
The islands history and culture is unique and very well preserved, and your trip would hardly be complete without exploring and learning a little about the islanders who have invited you to their home. Learn about the stone money trade, visit their banks and understand the purpose of a men’s house. Seeing how the islanders still choose to live traditionally yet embrace some modernization is fascinating. On your 4 hour tour, you will experience cultural dances as well as visiting beaches and local sights.
Bill’s wife invites you to explore Yap on half, or full-day kayaking tours. The only way into the mangroves is by kayak, taking you away to an untouched ecosystem. Her knowledge of the island will enrich your tour, and you might even spot an archer fish spitting water high into the overhanging vegetation to knock down its food.
Snorkelers aren’t forgotten here, and they have the option to hop on dive excursions, watch manta rays, charter their own tour or simply explore the lagoon; none will disappoint.
If you like to tussle with fish as well as watch them through your mask, then you are in for a treat. Manta Ray Bay Resort is home to Yap Anglers who can take you out to try your might against a giant trevally. Catch and release of course.
For calmer pursuits check out the Taro Leaf Spa in the main building. Choose from a selection of massage treatments with oils which are made traditionally using local plants. Equally as relaxing is a day spent at one of the islands truly deserted beaches. Be dropped off with a picnic and cool drinks and spend the day in castaway heaven, what a great way to spend your last day off-gassing.
Manta Ray Bay Resorts Yap Divers was created by divers for divers. Everything is just steps away. The centre offers both PADI and SSI courses from entry level and a full range of specialty courses up to divemaster level. You can make up to four dives a day and should you wish to cram it all in. Yap Divers ensure your safety by offering free Nitrox on your 3rd and 4th dive of the day. Night dives are available too.
Their fleet of 8 boats means that every ocean-going wish can be accommodated. Their boats are safe, fast and above all, environmentally friendly. Enjoy being quietly and smoothly whizzed to one of the many dive sites that dot the 100 miles of barrier reef, lagoons, and channels. This area does offer a little of everything from its famed mantas and sharks to wall dives and channel drifts. They offer a shark feeding experience which will live in your memory forever. For the macro lovers, there are abundant lagoons in which to go spotting and mating mandarin fish to watch. You should expect a backdrop of rich and vibrant reefs as well as a few caverns to explore.
Photographers can enjoy dedicated rinse stations, and every diver will enjoy the fresh water shower where they can rinse themselves after their gear. Each diver will get their own storage bay and there are even locking camera bays too. Rental gear is available, and the centre prides itself on offering the very best of equipment for their divers use. The gear is wholly replaced each November so you can be sure that each piece is in tip top condition. Get help from your scuba diving travel agent to secure what you need.