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Dive Review of Beyond the Reef/Oceanview Hotel in
Micronesia/Yap

Beyond the Reef/Oceanview Hotel, Sep, 2003,

by Phil Hamilton, Texas, US . Report 716.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 81 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Limited by computers only
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Small boats, so you are on your own as to care of your camera.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Spent a week in Yap, diving with Beyond the Reef. Small, boutique-type operation. Just about every dive was just our two divers plus two crew - both captains and DMs, so they took turns diving with us. We selected our own sites on every dive, only limited by sea conditions. The boats (Boston Whaler-type) are small, but have oxygen on board, as well as first aid kits. Hot chocolate or tea is provided along with croissants and cinnamon rolls during surface intervals. Water is also available on board. Divers generally dive their plan (limited only by their computers) and choose their routes underwater, followed by a DM, who carries a SMB when on drift dives. April, May, September and October are very iffy for seeing mantas - we saw none the entire week, and gave up looking after a couple of days. If you are determined to see mantas, go in December or January. Plenty of whitetips, and a few blacktips and reef sharks around, as well as lionfish, and a plethora of clownfish. One can also see Mandarinfish here - we found five on one dive. Very healthy fish population, with many species in sight. We spent one surface interval at the south end surrounded by a playful school of dolphins. Locals do fish the reefs using either nets or spears, so the fish are a bit skittish, making it more difficult for UW photography. The island is very laid-back and the locals are very friendly, probably like Cozumel before the cruise ships commercialized it. Winter manta site is Mi'il Channel on the Northwest side, and Summer site is Goofnuw Channel in the East. Other sites not to miss are Yap Caverns, Lionfish Wall, and Gilman Wall, all on the South end - excellent wall sites. Sunset Reef in the Northeast corner is also a very good dive, with hundreds of fish to see. All hotels put you in walking distance of everything in town, no need to rent a car. To see more of the island, $35 will get you a half day tour taking you to the Bechyal cultural center, and seeing most of the north of the island on the way. Be sure to walk over to the stone money bank in Balabat, and also make a trek to the top of the radio tower hill, where most of the island can be seen from this vantage point. Accomodations range from Trader's Ridge Resort, at $175-300 per night, to homestays at $25. We chose Oceanview hotel at $40. Very basic room, with AC and refrigerator and TV. One TV station on island with only afternoon and evening programming (taped US network shows) - but who wants TV during vacation anyway? Very limited telephone/internet access on the island - thank goodness. On island, you have about six restaurants to choose from, and all provide decent food and pretty good variety at reasonable prices. Be sure to visit ILP restaurant and speak with the owner (also a taxi driver). He was a child during the Japanese occupation, and has many good stories. Overall, if you must see mantas or mandarinfish, or just want a very quiet dive vacation in a relaxed atmosphere, this is a good spot to choose - they receive about ten percent of the tourism that Palau sees.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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