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Dive Review of Beyond the Reef/O'Keefe's Waterfront Inn in
Micronesia/Yap

Beyond the Reef/O'Keefe's Waterfront Inn, Jul, 2006,

by NEAL LANGERMAN, CA, USA . Report 2888.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving All over the Pacific, all coasts of US, Gulf, Carib, etc
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 81 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Hard corals are fantastic for wide and ultra-wide angle (10-15 mm). Need to work to get superb composition. Use a reef hook to photograph mantas. See www.sharneal.com for images. Camera was stowed on a cushion inside the cabin of small skiff. Safe, but not secure. Crew handled camera properly and well. Needed to change ports between dives and we came back to the dock so I could reconfigure the entire housing and camera in a dry location.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 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 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments My wife and I have more than 65 years of diving experience between us around the world on live-aboard and land-based operations. Our visit to Yap followed two weeks of diving in Palau. Yap is a small island in the Federated States of Micronesia. We did two dives a day for seven days with Beyond the Reef using a small skiff with a guide and operator. We were the only divers in the skiff for the entire time and got very comfortable with our guide and operator. One day, two snorkelers joined us, but even then the skiff was not overly crowded. Beyond the Reef specializes in small group diving which caters to the particular interests of the divers. Yap is known for its Mantas and we were not disappointed. July is rainy season and not the time the large schools of Mantas gather in the cleaning stations. However, we were able to dive with up to seven of these large fish and the Mantas remained near us for the better part of the hour dive. On other occasions we were visited by one to four Mantas. January through April is the best time of the year to visit Yap to see Mantas.

Yap diving is much more than Mantas. The south and west walls provide vistas of hard corals at least as beautiful as the soft corals of Palau. Spotted Eagle Rays, reef sharks, and an assortment of reef fish are abundant. Diving is easy. A backroll entry puts you in a gentle current and you drift at comfortable depths in extremely clear water. The skiff had an acceptable boarding ladder that simply required removing your fins and climbing onboard. The skiff followed our bubbles and I never felt at risk of being left behind. The owner of Beyond the Reef, Dave Vecella, picked us up at our hotel every morning. He made certain that everything was planned and executed to our satisfaction. He was in every way a perfect host.

We made all of our arrangements through Beyond the Reef and booked into OKeefes Waterfront Inn on Daves recommendation. This was a superb five room Inn with the rooms extending over the water. The rooms were designed to make you feel like you were on a 19th century sailing schooner. The well appointed accommodations were comfortable and provided for everything the traveling diver needed. One very helpful feature was a drying closet located off of the porch overlooking the bay. Waste heat from the air conditioning condenser was directed into this closet and wet clothing and dive gear was very quickly dried. This was particularly helpful as we packed to continue our month long dive trip.
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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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