A unique experience
Yap is gifted with its manta ray presence – it’s still one of the only places in the world where you have a great chance of diving with a manta ray any day of the year.
- Manta mating season is December – April with the most frequent interactions with multiple animals and mating behavior
- Year-round manta cleaning station diving is excellent for photography
- Yap State is a Manta Trust field research site offering citizen science and join manta dive expedition opportunities
- Mating season is Manta season! Every year the resident rays dance in courtship in Yap’s lagoons and channels.
In the winter months, the Manta diving is exciting, this is the time when you see small groups of rays and their courtship behavior, mantas dancing. When you experience a mating train within arm’s reach or mantas balling together in courtship, it’s a “ten” for anyone’s dive log.
Mantas are frequently seen on drift dives transiting channels and there are occasional outer reef deep blue water encounters. The most common and longest interactions happen at shallow cleaning stations where divers get buzzed by circling rays. Multiple cleaning stations offer various interactions and environments to dive with manta rays.
You can go manta diving every day here in small groups at sites inside the reef on calm water after short boat rides just minutes from the hotel dock.
The manta presence is so strong that Yap State is a field research site for Manta Trust. Our rays are being identified, measured and indexed in a custom database for the conservation of all Micronesian manta rays.
Check out some manta diving:
- Yap Big Animal Diving – shots and story from Vertigo and Stammtisch during mating season
- Yap’s Manta Ray Conservation – Yap State is the world’s first manta ray sanctuary protecting the water and habitat of mantas
- Manta and Shark double tank – Yap is home to one of the best big animal two-tank dive days there is with mantas and sharks at the right time
- Early summer mantas – Valley of the Rays is open during the summer offering a channel dive manta experience
How we do it
We make a dive to a cleaning station and remain stationary at the bottom, and the Mantas come to us.
The Mantas approach, more often than not two or three at a time, and hover at the cleaning station. The Cleaning Wrasse get into the action and nibble away at parasites in the gills and on the skin, getting a free meal while the Manta gets rid of uninvited and irritating guests.
The Mantas will be as close as a few feet from the divers, and the action often goes on for quite some time. The shallow depth and the divers remaining stationary at the cleaning station allows for extended dive times, a typical dive can last 55 to 75 minutes with several Mantas or groups of Mantas being “serviced” at arm’s length – cleaning station encounters are outstanding for photography. This is an experience that cannot be put in words.
Some simple rules for the dives:
- We NEVER touch the mantas. They don’t like it, and we respect that.
- We encourage responsible use of video lights.
- Avoid hanging on to living coral. There’s plenty of rock and dead coral.
- Avoid blowing large bubbles under the mantas.