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Dive Review of Traders' Ridge Resort in
Micronesia/Yap

Traders' Ridge Resort, Jul, 2007,

by Chip Kamin, PA, USA ( 2 reports). Report 3302.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Mainly Caribbean including Bonaire, Aruba, Cozumel, Roatan, Utilla, St. Lucia, Dominica, Truks & Caicos, Florida
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 83 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25 to 125 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Come up with 500 PSI
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments No rinse for cameras or masks. Every diver given individual baskets for gear. It worked OK for small digital cameras.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We had just spent 8 days in Palau and were now heading for the second part of our Pacific Island adventure. Our group of 8 experienced divers (6,000 plus dives accumulated) was stoked from great diving in Palau with Sams Tours and a great hotel with the Pan Pacific. Our expectations for Yap were not as high as they had been for Palau, but we were in for a very pleasant surprise.

I had selected Traders Ridge Resort over the other dive operations because the accommodations seemed like the best on the Island. Tina, at Island Dreams Dive Travel, had helped with all the travel arrangements.

We were met at 3:00am at the airport and driven a short distance to the resort. Much to my surprise the Dive Master, Mike Kuiper met us as we checked in along with Brenna the manager. Since we were getting in late we had no desire to do an early morning dive scenario and Mike explained that would be no problem. If we wanted to dive he would take us out in the afternoon and then we could do the Mandarin Fish dive at dusk. He told us just bring you dive gear to the lobby at 1:00pm and he would take it from there.

As an Island, Yap is very different from Palau. Yap has managed to let most of the modern world pass it by. They practice many of Micronesias traditional life styles. Traders Ridge motto on their web site sums up the facility very well Where Adventure and Luxury Meet. I can honestly say in all my travels around the world, I have never had such an attentive staff from manager to chef to bartender. Rooms were styled in true Victorian architecture and were spacious and cool. Refrigerators in every room and room service available 24 hours a day. Ladies note: bring ¾ pants or a skirt. You can walk around with nothing on top but you need to cover the knees (only when touring the Island).

The pool area was secluded as were the beautiful gardens surrounding the resort. They even had an ethnic art institute on the premises that showcased various art forms practiced on the Island. We opted for the breakfast package at $16.50 per day. The restaurant was in a separate building with two open-air floors, one more casual then the other. We tried a few other restaurants in town but always came back to chef Anthonys cuisine.

Our first two dives were not spectacular. We did Semakai Wall (great visibility 100 foot plus) and 1 to 2 Macro (less visibility but lots of Lion Fish). Then we headed out for the dusk Mandarin Fish Dive. We found a coral head minutes from the dive shop and basically hung out for 90 minutes watching the beautiful little critters find each other and finally mate. It was a unique dive not to be missed.

Of course we had come to Yap to see Mantas and Mantas we saw. We were told the Mantas were on the other side of the island from the standard Mill Channel dive area. We headed out to the Valley of the Rays the next morning and after a quick descent to about 50 feet we attached our reef hooks behind a big rock. I was fumbling around with my camera wondering why we had stopped here when a big shadow fell over me. I looked up and there was a 10-foot Manta hovering over the feeding station. Another one came in and then another. The exit for the dive was tricky since the current was strong. You had to drift out the channel and then catch the mooring line. With the current dragging I did a slow and strenuous hand over hand to the surface and then caught another rope from the mooring line to the ladder and then with difficulty back in the boat. This was not an easy exit and missing the ladder would mean a swift cruise out to sea. We all made it and for our second dive went back to 1 to 2 Macro seeing a lot more stuff since we knew the site.

Mike Kuiper had recently been hired to run the dive operation at Traders Ridge. He is Dutch and had worked for years in the Maldives before coming to Yap. He seems to be doing a great job organizing the diving. For the balance of our dives we had two locals, Fair and Matt to guide us. Fair captained the boat and lead the dives while Matt helped out on the surface.

The dive staff was excellent, catering to every need we had. After our second dive each day we had a choice of coffee, tea, cold water and fresh baked banana nut bread from the kitchen. Very satisfying.

We went back to the Manta site (seeing even more Mantas) then spent a day on the Southern tip of the Island doing, Yap Caverns, Lionfish Wall, and Magic Kingdom. All great dives. A trip to the South is a must do for a Yap dive trip. More fish, better coral, and great visibility.

Back at Traders Ridge we opted for a private Island dance which included sampling native food, crafts and of course a very colorful dance by over 25 natives. Well worth the $50 which goes to the tribe. We also did a couple of land tours, we had two full days built into the package but really two half days was plenty. Stone money banks, more mens houses, another mangrove kayak tour, World War ll relics, etc. The resort has bikes available for free anytime and they are actually new bikes in good condition, a first for all our many dive trips.

All in all we were amazed by the quality of the resort, the attention given by all the staff and the quality of the diving. Yap is difficult to get to but in my opinion it is worth the effort.
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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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