One of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia,
Yap lies just north of the equator in the western Pacific Ocean. It
is a lush tropical island surrounded by a broad shallow lagoon and
nearly 90 miles of barrier reef.
Diving in Yap is world famous for its large population of
resident manta rays and over 100 of these magnificent creatures
cruise these waters. During the winter (April to December) the
mantas are in even greater numbers in the Mi'l channel for the
mating season where as many as a dozen can be seen gliding back and
forth in the channel and in the summer they spend their mornings at
"cleaning stations" where small specialised reef fish pick off tiny
parasites from them. The "cleaning stations" offer extended manta
dives where these majestic creatures often pass within inches of
the divers - an incredible experience.
Aside from the manta dives, Yap also has some great reef diving
if you can drag yourself away from the mantas. The outer reefs
offer great wall diving, caverns and slopes with more than 200
species of soft and hard corals teeming with fish life. Shark dives
are also carried out where you may find yourself surrounded by 10
or more reef sharks.
Yap has retained its ancient culture better than anywhere else
in Micronesia. Although Yap is famous in the diving world for its
mantas, long before this it was known as the Land of Stone Money.
Huge disks of stone, some over 3m in diameter, are still owned
today by the Yapese people and are used in major transactions. They
can be seen throughout the island and you can also visit an old
stone money bank! The villages can be reached on a leisurely 30
minute down an ancient stone path and if you go on a village tour
you can experience the amazing local dances where the villagers
dance in their traditional dress.
Yap has a lot on offer in terms diving and culture and you
really will be experiencing a destination very few others have.