Manta Rays are some of the most beautiful sea creatures on the planet, and diving with them is an eco-touristís dream come true. Their movement is elegant and awesome, and they are amazingly friendly. Now the manta rays have their first designated protected area in the western Pacific, around Yap Island in the Federated States of Micronesia. The Yap legislature, in 2008, passed a law protecting the habitat of our resident population of manta rays out to 12 miles offshore, an 8,243-square-mile area, comprising 16 main islands and atolls and 145 islets.
The marine ecosystem around Yap Island is a remarkable bionetwork of cleaning stations, with sufficient density of planktonic organisms and a pollution-free environment. This is an irreplaceable haven and allows Yapís manta ray population to be yearlong residents. The waters around Yap are one of the very few places in the world where the promise of a manta ray sighting is almost guaranteed anytime of the year. The sanctuary management plan will provide an ecological approach to protecting the habitat for manta rays and other marine species, including sharks, ensuring that these resources will be plentiful for future generations.
Scuba Diving in Yap
People come from all over the globe to dive in the warm, clear waters that encompass our islands. Diving andsnorkeling with our resident population of manta rays is great year round. These gentle giants of the sea come into the lagoons each day to feed and to have their bodies cleaned by small fish at areas called cleaning stations, and divers and snorkelers can get an up close view of the action.During certain times of the year, the mantas may also mate, forming a train-like chain as the males follow the females in a stateof courtship. The outer reefs and drop-offs are teeming with life, from schooling shoals of reef fish to turtles, sharks and eagle rays. From big animals to the smallest of critters, diving in Yap has something for everyone. And the diving is relatively easy at most of the sites. Beginners can feel comfortable right from the start, and experienced old salts will cherish the freedom to explore and the variety of attractions. Yap is home to a large quantity of macro life, beautiful hard coral gardens, and some spectacular big animal encounters. Explore untouched sites with names like Yap Caverns, Lionfish Wall, Vertigo and Valley of the Rays.
From late November through early May, the seasonal Trade Winds bring a fresh breeze from the northeast. Late May to early November offers calm seas as these winds cease. All of Yap's dive operators visit the manta rays, as well as the other many fine reefs around the islands, with new sites still being discovered. With miles of unspoiled reefs and very few visitors, divers enjoy the peacefulness that comes with having an entire reef to themselves. Yap's dive shops offer a wide range of dive classes, so one can learn to dive on their Yap vacation, or take a course to enhance their skill level. Courses offered include the introductory Discover Scuba class, entry level certifications, Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster, Nitrox, and even a Manta Ray Awareness specialty course, just to name a few. Be sure to ask your dive operator for details.
The variety of diving in Yap offers something for everyone, and with our warm, tropical climate and year round fine weather, combined with Yap's professionally run dive shops, your dive vacation will be like no other.
For a complete list of Yap's Dive Operators, please click here.