With a culture still steeped in the traditions and customs of indigenous tribes, a visit to the Yap Islands will introduce you to island life in a way that’s so rarely seen in this modern age. Yap, as it is more commonly referred to, is a cluster of four small islands that are all interconnected by coral reefs. One of the most curious hold-overs from early tribal societies of these islands is the Yapese stone money, a collection of variously sized (some 12 feet in diameter!) carved circular stones with holes in the middle that were at one time highly valued and used as currency. The harder the stone was to obtain, the more value it would have. The stones are all still owned by tribesmen today, and although the modern form of currency in Yap is the US dollar, ownership of the stones is still exchanged for ceremonial or traditional purposes, and the stones themselves can be found scattered around the islands.
Scores of macro life can be found here, making it a haven for underwater photographers, but the species you’ll find here don’t stay small. Renown for its large schools of tuna, dolphins, and manta rays, as well as a healthy population of sharks, another terrific feature of this area is its caverns and swim-throughs, which do not require an advanced certification to dive. Pinnacles and vertical walls abound in Yap, and at every turn there is something new and colorful to observe. As an added bonus, visibility here averages 100 feet, and it is not uncommon for it to reach 150 feet. We’d say this place has just about everything a diver could ask for! Check out this fantastic footage of what lies beneath the surface of the Yap Islands.
Image via c.lathe