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Dive Review of Beyond the Reef/Oceanview Hotel in

September, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Phil Hamilton, Texas, US
Report Number 716
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
81   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Limited by computers only  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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  
Small boats, so you are on your own as to care of your camera.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
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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