We are back from Yap and Palau, and sorting through pictures. The results of our sorting will appear on the club Facebook page and on this site. We already have some pictures and videos on our Facebook page.
The first week of diving was three dives per day from the Manta Ray Bay Resort in Yap. We were there to see manta rays, so we spent time waiting at cleaning stations hoping that manta rays would come. Those of us who were patient and lucky did get to see manta rays up close. Here is a video I shot at a cleaning station. In all, we got to see manta rays on three dives, and they swam right over my head twice. I'm available for work as a manta ray lucky charm on any future dive trip, if you pay my way.
While in Yap, we did a night dive to see mandarinfish (a small, brightly colored member of the dragonet family). The fish were beautiful and fun to watch. I'd do that again, but if I were to return to Yap I would ask them when the seas are calm. We asked them when we could see manta rays, but forgot to ask about sea conditions. The return trips around the island were long through rough seas. Also, the water was colder than expected. We heard that an undersea landslide had brought up cold water in that whole area of the Pacific. Going between Yap and Palau, we took advantage of a day in Guam to shop for extra shorties and vests to help us keep warm.
In Palau, we stayed on the Ocean Hunter III liveaboard. With up to five dives a day, there was plenty of diving to keep us busy. One of the noteworthy moments for me was seeing a shark going through a cleaning station. I had no idea a shark would do such a thing. Apparently this shark had to keep swimming to breath, so it looped around several times. I caught this short video of one pass. We also visited Blue Corner, where we hooked in, twice. This video is my attempt to battle a strong current to record a 360 view. The current won.
Our last day of diving in Palau included an option to go snorkeling in Jellyfish Lake. The lake had recently opened again after being closed due to drought conditions. I have been told that the population of jellyfish is in the process of building back to pre-drought levels. Even so, I found swimming with the jellyfish to be a magical experience and I hope this video captures some of that magic.