conjures images of stone men's houses, sailing canoes, legendary
navigators, mysticism and intrigue. Until recently, Yap has
been inaccessible to visitors, remaining pristine and untouched,
with the culture, language and traditions still intact and
visible on a daily basis. Yap today is Micronesia as it used
to be. There is virtually no development; there are still
village chiefs, a caste system and an ancient currency built
around huge disks of stone. Carved from the rock islands of
Palau and transported over 300 miles of open ocean in sailing
canoes, these disks are still in use today, with their value
determined by size, shape and the difficulty of acquisition.
A visit to Yap, then, is a quiet cultural experience,
with the opportunity to see Micronesia at its roots: friendly
people, shy, yet welcoming; traditional dress; ages old
dances and songs, preserved and performed by successive
generations of children.
For divers, there is a pristine marine world, scarcely
explored, yet profound in what has been discovered. Every
day the combination of plankton, tide and current sets the
stage for an undersea ballet featuring some of the ocean's
largest creatures: Manta Rays.