Diving in Yap is all about, crystal clear waters, a wide variety of dive sites, great coral, Manta Rays and other great marine life. If you are looking for a dive destination that is not invaded by tourists, with no spring breakers acting like fools, where the local culture still comes first, and diving is the main attraction, then diving in Yap should be on top of your bucket list.
Yap is the westernmost state of the four states that make up the Federated States of Micronesia. This area of Micronesia includes the Caroline Islands, which make up for Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.
The main islands lie close together and are made up of four separate islands:
- Yap Island proper (Marbaq)
- Maap (or Maap′)
- and Rumung.
The state of Yap covers a distance 600+ miles (1,000 km) east to west. However, the majority of the community lives on the Yap Main Islands. The Yap Main Islands lie about 300 miles from Palau, 500 miles from Guam and 800 miles from the Philippines.
If you took the entire land mass of the Federated States of Micronesia, it would be about the same size as Los Angeles county, however, if you compare the full size including the surrounding waters it is larger than the United States.
Yap’s history extends back before recorded history.
Yap’s civilization has been set as far back as 1500 B.C. While others argue that it is maybe 2,000 years older. Portuguese explorer Diego Da Rocha arrived in October 1525 and stayed for about four months and therefore he can be considered as being the first European “tourist.”
In the 1700s, Spain established some churches in Yap.
Back in the days, the islands of Yap were claimed by Spain, Portugal, and Germany, however, they did not put too much effort into “ruling” the islands.
As such, the Yap culture is less eroded than other Asian countries. The people of Yap have adopted modern ways while still maintaining aspects of their culture in their lifestyles. Many Yapese still wear traditional clothing at least a portion of the time, and cultural dances are passed on from generation to generation.
80 to 90% of people who visit Yap are scuba divers.
Yap has a small tourism industry which is concentrated in Colonia, which is the state’s capital and located on Marbaq the largest island.
The tourism bureau of Yap states that 80 to 90% of tourist visiting the islands will do a Manta Ray dive. While at first glance this might scare you off thinking diving in Yap will be an overcrowded cattle boat experience, but you should take into account, that there are only about 100 Hotel Rooms, yes rooms, not hotels, in Yap.
How is the diving in Yap?
Diving in Yap is in one word, excellent! The Caroline Islands cover a vast stretch of the Western Pacific, with the remote and isolated Yap Main Islands as the most western of them. Theses islands are sparsely populated with no heavy industry, so the waters remain unpolluted.
The visibility is usually over 100 feet / 30 meters and at times, it is twice that. A reef surrounds the four islands with a very broad and shallow lagoon which unfortunately is too shallow for shore dives.
The reefs slope deeper as they move away from the shore, and they flatten out at around 30 to 60 feet and then drop off to great depths offering amazing wall dives. There are also some dive sites in the channels between the islands.
You can explore about 50 different dive sites in Yap
The northern dive sites in Yap are where the best Manta dives are. At the southern dive sites, you will find the best wall dives. All of the sites have pristine coral cover and a large variety of marine life.
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This article is published by The Scuba Page, the online magazine for Scuba Dive lovers around the world. The Scuba Page is part of RUSHKULT : the online booking platform for adventure sports. Visit the RUSHKULT platform to book your next Scuba Dive training, guided trip and accommodation.