23 SEP CO955 from Palau to Yap

Yap is one of the states of the Federated States of Micronesia, a sovereign nation in the West Pacific which is connected to the United States through a Compact of Free Association.

Most people, it seems, come to Yap to dive. It’s close to Palau, one of the world’s premier diving destinations, with frequent connections via Continental Micronesia, and boasts some of the easiest sightings of manta rays, which can have a wingspan of up to three meters (~10 feet). We dove one day with Beyond the Reef, and saw one manta ray, a shark, a stingray and a turtle.

Coming from Bali, everything seemed horribly overpriced, but the reality I suppose is that it’s not more expensive than mainland United States, from where much of the goods (abundant selections of Oreo cookies and processed meat were available at the local grocery store) have to be imported. Oddly, there was also one Chinese grocery store, where most of the goods were of Chinese origin.

Yap is most famous for its stone money, which is still used as a sort of social currency as compensation for social injuries, weddings and gifts for other celebrations.

Meriting special mention is our hotel, O’Keefe’s Waterfront Inn, run by Don Evans, an American who has lived in Yap for the last 37 years. It’s amazing that someone who’s been on a small Pacific island for most of his adult life can put together such a well-executed period-style inn, especially at such a remote location. According to Don, some of the furnishings/fixtures are recreations of pieces he saw in old movies.

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