Ever wondered where you can go for guaranteed manta rays virtually all year round? We have found it: please meet Yap! The shark action is pretty special too and as a destination it works very well in combination with Chuuk Lagoon.
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.