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Dive Review of Manta Ray Bay in

December, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Tom Brumback, IA, USA (1 report)
Report Number 5304
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Belize, Roatan, Australia, Caymans, Turks & Caicos, Bonaire, BVI,
Cozumel, Costa Rica
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
Had nice lockers and benches for all photographic equipment.  Area was safe
and secure.  I left cameras, batteries, stobes and all equipment on the
camera tables all week with no worries about damage of theft.  I needed
some silica gel to dry out my fogging camera case and the shop rounded up a
couple for me.  In shop facilities for photographers were good, but I
really didn't see any PC's available for downloading etc.  Boat facilities
for UWP were lacking.  There were no on-board rinse tanks and cameras were
simply placed on the floor on the back of the boat.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
4 stars    
We spent a week at Manta Ray Bay diving with YAP divers after spending a
week in Palau aboard the Big Blue Explorer. We found the accommodations and
service to be very good.  Pick up at the airport at 3:00AM went well and
staff took care of all our gear.  Diving consited of Manta ray hunting in
Miil Channel and outer reefs.  Diving in the channel had poor viz which
ranged from an abysmal 30 ft to a respectable 50 ft.  We saw mantas on
every dive we made there and they were up close and personal----you
couldn't see them if they were far away.  A good wide-angle lens and some
close encounters made for some good photo ops.  When we didn't dive the
channel, we made stops at Yap Caverns, Vertigo, Lionfish wall, yellow wall
etc.  These were excellent dives...much better than expected as we came to
YAP to primarily see Mantas. We did 2 dives at Vertigo including an awesome
shark feed.  The divemaster took down a box of fish heads and placed it on
the reef.  Between 50-75 sharks appeared and created a frenzy when the box
was opened about 30 minutes into the dive.  Actually, shark viewing and
photo ops were far better than we experienced at Blue Corner in Palau. 
Macro life was respectable with sightings of several Nudibranch species,
ghost pipefish, crocodile fish, etc.  Overall, I would rate the experience
as good to excellent.   Bill Acker's Manta Ray Bay Hotel is perfect for
diving and located right on the water with a spectacular infinity pool.
Staff were very helpful and friendly.  They always made the best of tides,
surf and weather conditions to give us the best dives.  Dive operations
were efficient, timely, and accommodating.  The only shortcomings were the
Mnuw restaurant and the dive boats.  We ate several meals in the converted
cargo ship which served as a restaurant.  Ambience was great and the ship
often became the hotspot for meetings and conversations after diving. 
However, we found the food rather ordinary and a bit pricey for what you
received.  We often ate across the street at Oasis.  We sampled most of the
local restaurants including Trader's Ridge, Ganir, etc.  Oasis was the best
value.  The other shortcoming was the dive boats.  Most of the boats were
converted fishing boats that we not ideally suited to diving.  YAP divers
would do well to invest in some true dive boats with setups more conducive
to diving.  Having tanks and equipment simply laying on the floor of the
boat along with cameras is mediocur at best.  Other then these 2
improvements, Manta Ray Bay/YAP divers is a top notch operation.
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