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Dive Review of Manta Ray Bay in

July, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Ted Kern, TX, US
Reviewer   (4 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 6609
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Mahajual, Belize, Roatan, Utila, Cayos Cochinos, Bonaire,
Galapagos, Turks & Caicos, Caymans, Saba, St. Kitts, Statia, Silver
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Recreational limits were enforced, but you are allowed to dive your
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
See review of hotel.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
We have stayed at Manta Ray before in 2006 and decided to go back for a 2
week stay this year. The things we thought were great about the hotel are
still fantastic! The dive operation is the best we have ever been diving
with. From safe gear storage that allows you to store your gear between
dives, after washing them in their clean and huge rinse tanks. To each
morning having your gear taken from your assigned locker (no fighting for a
place to store your gear here) and put on the boat for you. This place is
concierge service for diving! There are also large camera tables in the
dive shop for placing your camera gear on after rinsing your housing in one
of two dedicated camera rinse tanks. There is a lockable cabinet below each
table that they provide the lock and key, but you won't need it. Just leave
your gear on the table to dry, ready for lubing o'rings the next morning
using their provided lights with magnifying glass if you need them. If you
desire to remove your camera and take it with you for the rest of the day,
you can use the microfiber towels hanging next to your camera table to dry
your housing, or you can blow dry it using the scuba tank with air nozzle.
No more need to haul your camera gear back and forth to the room.

The diving in Yap is diverse and offers something for everyone. Although
they are famous for the ability to get up close and personal with Manta
Rays, this is only a small part of Yap diving. With stunning walls,
beautiful soft coral, macro life that would choke a grouper, schools of
fish, plenty of sharks and the chance for even more rare encounters with
cuttlefish or even whale sharks. The diving is absolutely world class!

Being avid divers accommodations are usually secondary to the need for a
good dive operation. However the rooms at Manta Ray are beautiful and
clean!! Each room is given a name making it your own special hideaway
between dives. We were upgraded to a Deluxe Ocean View room that bathed us
in luxury. If you can upgrade - do it! The rooms are a little bigger
allowing you spread out while you are there. The shower is a huge walk in
shower that allows for showering together - for saving water of course! Our
room also had a private garden with a palapa and small private plunge pool
allowing you to relax in your own private oasis whenever you wanted.

The hotel staff was amazing!! After your first day there, you would be
greeted by name by everyone you walked past. I'm just glad they did not
give us a test at the end of the week to try and remember all of their
names. It was amazing to wake up in the morning and walk through the lobby
to be told to have a good morning by name each day. In most businesses the
attitude of the staff is created by the boss, and in this case there is no
doubt of that. Owner and operator Bill Acker is not only on site most days,
but is also a working staff member. Bill's motto for the hotel is
"Yes, now what is your question?" A perfect motto for a service
industry but easier said than done. However Bill and his staff have pulled
it off!! ANY request you have is met by a simple yes with completion of the
task if it is at all possible on a small South Pacific Island. If it is not
possible, the staff will work until an acceptable solution for you is
found. The two weeks we were there with our group of 15, we were able to
pull off a wedding, a birthday celebration and 2 anniversaries. The wedding
on the beach was beautiful and given a traditional feel with several locals
also participating. Cakes for the birthday party and anniversary
celebrations were not only pretty, but moist and flavorful. Created in
their bakery located on the second floor of the hotel, the cheese cake was
one of the best I have ever had!

To give more room for the hotel, the restaurant is actually a working
Chinese Cargo Ship (The Mnuw) that is backed up to the hotel and docked.
Walking a gang plank to the back of the ship on the first level is a
restaurant used for breakfast which is included in your trip package. Did I
mention they have a bakery on site!? Fresh bread, pancakes, French toast,
bacon, and omelets made to order are a usual fair for the morning. On
occasion they offer doughnuts that would put Krispy Kreme to shame! One
floor up is the main restaurant where lunch and dinner is served each day.
A limited menu, but the fish is fresh and the fish tacos are fantastic!
Pizza is made if you wish with the dough again being made on site at the
bakery. Taking a trip up one more floor to the Crows Nest you will find the
bar and plenty of space to dine al fresco with shade sails to protect you
from the sun or rain. Here you will be treated to a full bar and the two
beers produced by the micro brewery that is also in the hotel. I recommend
their dark beer, Hammer Head. With a Shiner Bock like quality, it will keep
you happy and certainly from being home sick. 1/2 way around the world and
you can STILL have Pizza and Beer! Along with the great treats, Bill has
turned the mast of the Mnuw into a large movie screen. This will treat you
to a movie each night if you wish before retiring to your bungalow to rest
up for the next day of diving.

If there is any criticism to be made, it would be that the Mnuw has a
limited menu and is slow. If you are into fish, you will not go astray
here, as it is fresh and good. However, if you don't like fish or can not
eat fish your menu options are now burgers or pizza. 14 days of burgers or
pizza can actually get old! On occasion we would be in a rush to eat and
head back out diving and the food preparation can be slow. I can only
imagine that is due to the size of the kitchen, and with a couple of large
groups the kitchen can be challenged. Slow is something we are used to from
diving around the Caribbean. If you have been to Bonaire you know what I
mean. However this was beyond slow and on a couple of days not only was it
slow, but when your food did come, it came up cold. That can ONLY mean that
it was sitting down below cooling while you were waiting.

This one flaw can EASILY be overlooked as they will get it right if you
ask, and there are 2 other local eateries within easy walking distance that
will increase your variety and speed.

All in all if you are looking for a place that will treat you like royalty
while at the same time making you feel like family, then this is the place
for you! Yap in itself has some of the friendliest people I have ever met,
but Bill Acker has put the best of the best in his hotel to do only one
thing. Answer yes and then ask you what you need done.
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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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