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Situated in the Western Caroline Islands between Guam and Palau this lush tropical island is just 9 degrees north of the equator. Yap is one of the most intriguing and traditional islands in Micronesia.

The people of Yap are warm, shy and proud of their culture, ancient traditions and fascinating legends. Yap is known as the “Land of Stone Money”, due to the ancient currency of huge disks of stone. The huge coins, some over 12 feet (3.5 meters) in diameter, are still used today in local and traditional customs. Dance is an art form on Yap through which legends are passed down through this form of entertainment.

The town of Colonia on Yap Proper is the capital and is slightly more urbanised than the village areas. Snorkelling and diving are popular in the crystal clear waters, where giant manta rays are known to school all year round.

 

  • Geographical Information

    Yap is the western-most of the four states that comprise the Federated States of Micronesia. The many islands and atolls that make up Yap State stretch hundreds of kilometres across the open Pacific. Unlike many South Pacific islands, Yap is an uplifted portion of the Asian Continental Shelf. It is surrounded by a broad shallow lagoon and nearly 145 kilometres of barrier reef. The coastal areas are mostly mangrove, with occasional uncrowded, coral beaches and coral reef. The interior landscape consists of rolling hills and thick jungle like vegetation.

  • Activities

    Snorkel or dive with giant manta rays. Go deep-sea fishing for yellowfin and skipjack tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi, rainbow runner, barracuda, red snapper, grouper and trevally. Kayak in the shallow lagoon, through the mangrove forest or through a narrow canal excavated in the early 1900's. Take a ride on a traditional sailing canoe. Go mountain biking or hiking along ancient stone paths. Shop for Yapese arts and souvenirs. Experience Yap's ancient Pacific culture and traditional ways of life on a cultural or island sightseeing tour. Yap has one of the last remaining Micronesian cultures and no visit to Yap is complete without experiencing the old ways up close and personal. 

  • When to Travel to Yap

    Yap's year round climate is sub-tropical, with average temperatures temperatures in the low 30's (C) during the day and the mid to high 20's (C) in the evenings. The average water temperature is 28 degrees Celsius.

    Diving is good year round, with the north-east trade winds blowing from November to May resulting in less rain and lower humidity during these months. During the trade wind months, manta dives are done in Mi'il Channel and the reef and wall dives are done at the southern end and western side of the island. Boat rides for the reefs can be rough at times, but the dive sites are calm and safe. In the summer months, June through October, manta dives are done in both Mi'il and Goofnuw Channels for the mantas, and all of the reefs around Yap are accessible as the winds cease and the ocean is usually calm.

  • Hotels and Resorts in Yap

    Dive Adventures - Australias Leading Scuba Diving Travel Experts, Australia and Asia Pacific Manta Ray Bay Resort
    On Chamorro Bay in Colonia
    Budget: $$
    Pool: Yes
    Beach/Beachfront: No
    Bar: 1
    Restaurant: 2
    Wifi: Yes
    Onsite Shop: Yes
    Gym: No
    Spa: Yes
    Onsite Dive Centre: Yes
  • Scuba Diving in Yap

    Yap is famous for it's large population of resident manta rays which you can encounter on a year round basis. Over 100 manta rays live in the waters surrounding Yap. In the winter (usually December to late April) the mantas congregate in even greater numbers in Mi'l Channel (Manta Ray Bay or Manta Ridge) for the mating season when processions of as many as 12 manta rays at one time can be seen cruising back and forth in the channel. During the summer season, they spend their mornings in Goofnuw channel in the Valley of the Rays. Every morning, the huge mantas (sized between 2.5 metres to over 4 metres in width from wing tip to wing tip) cruise into the protected channels that penetrate the barrier reef and slowly circle the cleaning stations, frequently passing within inches of the observing diver's heads.

    However, there's more to diving in Yap than just the manta rays. From drop-offs to gentle slopes, from channel drifts to the protected confines of the harbour, Yap offers a whole range of diving experiences and is a paradise for the underwater photographer or videographer. Most dive sites in Yap are less than 30 minutes from Colonia Harbour. Yap is almost completely encircled by a fringing reef providing a backdrop for some of the most colourful and diverse marine and coral life to be found in Micronesia. There is also a Mandarin Fish dive.

    Some other popular dive sites

    Yap Caverns

    A network of caverns and canyons notched out of the coral wall adorned with rich soft corals. Large hard coral outcroppings in the shallower sections are honeycombed with narrow chasms and chimneys large enough for divers to explore. White tip reef sharks rest in the sandy bowls whilst schools of 10 - 20 Grey reef sharks and 50 or more huge Parrothead Humpbackfish have been seen. Visibility often exceeds 30 metres. Depth: 3 - 18 metres.

    Vertigo

    The center section of wall contains the steepest and deepest drop-off on the west coast of Yap, down to 100 metres. The shallower sections have a very colorful mix of both hard and soft corals, and black coral can be found below 24 metres.Schooling barracuda are sometimes sighted here. Sightings of turtles, mantas and eagle rays are also possible. Vertigo Reef is also the site of Yap's shark feed dive where you can watch mostly Grey and Black Tip reef sharks come in for the bait.

    Spanish Wall

    A slow drift dive past steeply descending slopes highlighted by a series of vertical walls, each approximately 50 metres in length from 18 - 25 metres. Delicate, white pulse corals which look like Spanish lace grow in the alcoves, crevices and undercuts. An abundance of pink and purple lace coral grows amongst the soft corals. Search for pelagics and larger reef fish in the blue below 9 metres. The deeper sections of the wall are visited by sharks.

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