Claims are cheap.
It’s easy to say that your destination possesses the best of a certain something. This tactic may even serve to draw in hordes of tourists, filling up resorts and restaurants.
But that’s just as well for the understated regions. Let people go to their big name hotels and visit their well-documented attractions. All the more space for those of us who seek the real gems.
And as scuba diving is concerned, Yap is certainly an underrated treasure.
As one of the hundreds of islands that make up Micronesia, Yap covers an area of around 39 square miles (100km2). Far from a simple tourist destination, the island has worked hard to preserve its culture. indigenous traditions can be observed and participated in through tours of villages, craft-making classes, and viewing traditional dances.
Though the island has much to offer, many people go to Yap with the intention of taking to the water. The area’s top-notch scuba diving is in high demand with visitors looking to check out some diverse marine life around a series of interesting rock formations.
Diving in Yap
With a handful of dive centres around the island, visitors won’t have a hard time finding equipment and boats. Look to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $65US for a single dive.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a veritable sea of manta rays, you need not travel further than the Mi’l Channel. With hundreds of creatures hanging around the region, you won’t get a better opportunity to snap that underwater picture. There isn’t much to discover beyond the rays, however, you may come across some small clusters of corals.
With calm waters and a maximum depth of 100 feet (30m), the site is open to certified divers of all levels. Consider planning your dive for the winter months, when the rays are in the midst of mating season.
Working your way south, beyond the dense conglomeration of manta rays, take a dive at the Yap Caverns. As an entertaining adventure, divers will be able to glide through tunnels and dip down along rocky cliffs. Along the way, you may just catch a glimpse of a whitetips, reef sharks, parrotfish and tuna.
Located off the eastern end of the island, Shark City offers exactly what it promises. Expect to see whitetips year-round while grey reef sharks can be found drifting around throughout the summer. And though there isn’t much in the way of underwater vegetation, you won’t be far from the coral-filled Goofnuw Channel.
With moderate depths of around 60 feet (18m), you need only be an intermediate diver to explore the sandy sea floor of Shark City.
When To Go
There is no bad time to scuba dive around the island of Yap. If yuo’re looking for manta rays, plan a trip for the winter months, while those seeking to spot grey reef sharsk should schedule their arrival for the summer.
Expect nothing but consistency with Yap’s yearly temperatures. Lows will drop town towards 73°F (23°C) while highs will peak at around 90°F (32°C).
Getting There & Around
Arrival in Yap will be based on a flight from either Guam or Palau. From there, look to grab either a bus or taxi to your pre-booked accommodations.
- Mid-range accommodations: $120-180
- Meal: $10-18
- Beer: $3
- Take a certified course in Yap if you’re looking to learn.
- Expect to get by with English.
- Base your trip from Yap’s capital city of Colonia.
- Miss out on a tour of cultural villages to get a better idea of the island’s traditions.
- Feel you ever have to leave if you hold an American passport.
- Worry about formal wear, the whole island is fairly casual.
- Travelling to Yap was impossible before 1989.
- Yap used stone currency for centuries, with discs weighing up to thousands of pounds.
- While stones were more interesting, the nation now uses the US Dollar.
Feature Image Credit: dweekly