Snorkel in Yap. I swung my legs over the side of the boat, and slid into the warm Pacific Ocean. I was in Yap, one of the four main islands of Federated States of Micronesia. Yap with its cool sounding name is an isolated island with less than 20,000 people calling it home. Only two scheduled flights a week make its way to Yap, meaning you will be one of only a handful tourists on the island at any given time.
Yap is quite a fascinating place to visit, with traditional villages, WWII history, and a truly unique currency. You can read about my experiences on land here.
But one of the highlights of any visits to Yap is spending time on the ocean (or under it). I spent three half days with Yap Divers, based out of the Manta Ray hotel. I would like to commend them for their great staff, fantastic snorkeling, and the bonus of freshly baked cakes they served on board. Of course, there are some impressive dive experiences here as well, but not being a diver I stuck to the snorkeling.
The cost of a half day of snorkeling is a reasonable $50. Snorkel equipment will set you back $10. Day one, two others joined me on the boat. Day two, there were three others. On day three, I was the only one who showed up. Yap Divers most likely losing money on the tour, still took me out for the day, in essence providing me with my own private tour, with my own captain and snorkel guide. (And even more delicious cake for myself.)
A fantastic experience with swimming with a score of Black Tip Sharks. Black Tip can grow as long as 1.5 meters. The boat came to a halt. Within moments I noted a half dozen sharks circling the boat. I looked at the snorkel guide with my eyes scrunched up in concern. He smiled back and told me not to worry and jump in. I slipped on my fins and twisted into the warm water. I stared in wonderment as I gazed a couple dozen sharks floating by. The Black Tips are typically considered to be timid, but the International Shark Attack File lists 28 unprovoked attacks including one fatal (so maybe it was not the best idea to go swimming). These sharks has been “trained”. As soon as they heard the whirl of the motor they would congregate in the area and the guides would throw in some food for the fish and sharks.
Besides the sharks, I snorkeled in several other parts around Yap. The water in many places is crystal clear. The coral in most cases was vibrant and not bleached where I have unfortunately seen too many times. The fish were colorful and abundant.
Snorkeling in Yap was an incredible experience and I was glad I had the opportunity.
Snorkel in Yap