Manta Ray Bay Dive Resort & Spa
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Yap 2016 TBA
Offer valid until May 15th. Promotions, discounts and offers can not be combined. Call now to book your next family adventure. 803-419-2556
Congratulations to Bill Acker, owner of Manta Ray Bay:
By Margo Peyton, owner and founder of Kids Sea Camp
Yap diving is superb!
The diving is calm, clear, and has so much to offer divers of all skill levels. It’s the only place I know that both adults and kids can dive or snorkel with manta rays in 15 feet of water. Kids Sea Camp offers dusk dives with mandarin-fish and many opportunities to encounter wild dolphins and sharks. Kids Sea Camp does not participate in any shark feeding, nor do we allow it on any of our dives. We dive with marine in life in their natural environment and are committed to providing safe conditions for our kids. This enables them to enjoy and learn about the animals through observation, and helps to create a sense of respect for the wildlife. We also offer village and money bank excursions, as well as some visits to the WWI and WWII historical sites.
Yap is a great addition to our Palau trip because of the travel distance. Many families choose to piggy-back the -Palau trip with Yap, creating a great two-week, two-destination option. Flights are on United Airlines from LAX/ IAH to HNL and through Guam to Yap. If you need help booking your flights, please give Margo a call.
The first time I heard the word Yap, I really thought it sounded like the name of a fruit or some exotic critter. “What is a Yap?” I asked my good friend, Jerry Beaty of Dive Training Magazine. He laughed in that jolly, contagious laugh he has and said, “Yap, my dear Margo, is a place.”. He then added that Yap was a place he thought I would very much enjoy and that I should go. That was in 2003. In 2010, he popped in at my Palau Sam’s Tours family diving event and said, “Did you know Yap is just next door?”
I have been diving for approximately 25 years and consider myself well-traveled, but only recently, within the past seven years, did I start exploring the Pacific. Each year, Jerry would stop in at one of the many trade shows I attend and again put that word in my head, “Yap.”
Yap is one of the Federated States of Micronesia, but can be almost impossible to find on some information sources. It encompasses a cluster of tiny islands that stretch for 600 miles in the vast Pacific Ocean. Yap proper, a group of four main islands within a barrier reef, is approximately 500 miles southwest of Guam, 300 miles northeast of Palau, and 800 miles due east of Cebu, Philippines. The other islands that comprise the state of Yap extend eastward toward Chuuk, with one atoll about 80 miles to the south. Yap lies just nine degrees north of the equator. I travel from Charlotte, NC to Yap, and that means flying to Los Angeles (LAX), overnighting, and then on to Honolulu (HNL), to Guam, to Palau (ROR) then to Yap — WOW! That’s what I said.
Remember, though, my rule of thumb is that (I will never put anyone through something I’m not willing to do myself,) especially when traveling with kids. -THIS WAS SOOOOOO WORTH IT!
Manta Ray Bay is a perfect addition to our Palau Kids Sea Camp Family vacation. Our family dive adventures will include Yap this year on our way from Palau. We will depart from Palau on July 11 and arrive in Yap on the same day, staying 7 nights at Manta Ray Bay, with 6 days of diving. We have scheduled daily activities from Sunday through Friday and a family island tour on Saturday before heading to Fiji on July 25th. Manta Ray Bay Resort is the premiere dedicated dive resort on the island of Yap, designed by divers and built for divers. All of the dive facilities are conveniently located on property. Also offered are, kayaking and a full range of island nature tours specifically designed to showcase Yap’s unique indigenous culture.
Arriving in Yap
Yap has one terminal, where you will step off the plane by descending down a stairway onto the tarmac below. There, you are greeted by Yapese women (or sometimes men) in their full native dress. This is very much a part of their culture. The Yapese still wear their traditional clothing around the island, with women in traditional dress, which does not include their top half being fully covered. I have not found this to be taken in an offensive or inappropriate way by any visitor or family. The women have beautiful flowered covered leis that are draped over their neck, shoulders and chest; they are a very humble and modest people. As you walk through the customs area, you are welcomed with a smile and adorned with a handmade flower tiara or lei that is placed on your head or around your neck before heading to the Manta Ray Bay Dive Resort.
Upon arrival, our rooms are ready and waiting for us. There is no lifting luggage as it’s all been taken care of for us by the staff. The beds are comfortable and the rooms are themed with underwater scenes of mantas, sharks and other marine creatures. Manta Ray Bay has standard island view rooms, ocean view rooms and deluxe ocean view rooms. I personally stay in an ocean view or deluxe room because, “let’s face it, you didn’t travel this far not to see a million dollar view.” There is not much of a price difference, but the difference in ambiance is huge.
Keeping right in line with the places I choose for families, Manta Ray Bay is family owned, family run, and family focused. Hall of Fame diver and owner, Bill Acker is a father, husband, and a family man. He has created a beautiful slice of paradise with his family and effortlessly shares that with each and every guest.
The resort staff is professional and extremely knowledgeable. They only want one thing from you each day and that is to see the smile on your face that says they have pleased you. Each time you are greeted, or served by the Yapese staff, they do so in a manner that is very proud, yet humble, as if they were representing their entire people to you.
The spa is incredibly relaxing and well worth the experience of refreshing yourself after the long journey. There is also a coffee shop in the lobby that made me not miss Starbucks one bit.
Guests can also enjoy Manta Ray Bay’s very own micro brewed beer, which is brewed right on the property. The Manta Ray Bistro, the island’s finest restaurant with a great view of the lagoon, is located on the main deck of the SV Mnuw, a turn–of–the–century South Seas schooner that you will dine on. Breakfast is served on the main deck, lunch on the middle deck and dinner up at the Crow’s Nest, where I gazed at the daily sunsets with a tropical drink. Kids will enjoy the firing of the real canons off the main deck at 4pm. Stand back, they are very loud.
The infinity pool with a waterfall slide and some coconut smoothies serve to entertain the kids each afternoon, along with fishing off the dock with the local kids. The dive operation and the diving are superb: I love the small (no crowds) feel of the boats. They are fast and can get to some pretty awesome dive sites not easily reached with larger boats.
The dive crew is amazing! I did not touch my gear from the first day that I placed it in my locker. Each morning, it was on the boat and waiting for me. I like my gear set a little higher on my tank and I prefer small tanks as I have a few discs in my back I’d love to replace. I showed my dive master just once and that was all that was needed. I do enjoy the valet dive service; I’m now 47 and my cowgirl diving days are behind me. Give me the pampering any day. My gear was rinsed, cleaned and they even tuned up my regulator. At the end of the week, all I had to do was pack it.
Each dive was better than the next. No disappointments. Manta, manta and more manta, or did you want sharks? We saw plenty of those too. How could it get much better? Manta Ray Bay lives up to its name. I had never seen manta until now, and after such a majestic experience, I can’t wait to return.
Adults dove some of the best sites Yap had to offer, including many of the staff favorites. Fresh baked bread and tea was presented each day when we returned from our first dive. A boat and crew were ready to go right after lunch for those that did not get enough. The dive shop is called Yap Divers, they offer dive equipment rental, free NITROX, a full–service photo center and all PADI dive courses.
Other excursions included: A trip to a local village, snorkeling off beautiful beaches, a traditional canoe ride, a cultural journey full of history at the Stone Money Bank and even tours of some of the WWI relics.
Manta Ray Bay Resort: http://www.mantaray.com/index.php
Yap Visitors Bureau site: http://www.visityap.com/culture.html
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