Getting to Yap Island - Bluewater Dive Travel
Getting to Yap Island

Getting to Yap Island

Getting to Yap Island

An Adventure with Pacific Missionary Aviation

Words and photos by Laura Taylor

Getting to Yap Island in Micronesia requires either stamina or proper planning. During a recent trip to Palau and Yap on behalf of Bluewater Travel, I found only two flights to Yap per week with a stopover in Guam. The owner of Manta Ray Bay Resort alerted us to an interesting alternative: the once-weekly Pacific Missionary Aviation (PMA) flight direct from/to Palau. We were traveling to dive the Yap Islands immediately following an extended dive trip in Palau, so this option fit perfectly into our plans. 

The airport hangar - getting to Yap with Pacific Missionary Aviation.

Flights to Yap with PMA operate on Wednesdays, and the return flights to Palau are on Tuesdays. I got the impression they will run additional flights for private charters. Bookings are made via email correspondence.  For $900 round-trip, it was not the most budget-friendly option, but the convenience of flying direct with PMA was worth it for us.

Walking to the small prop plane to Yap with Pacific Missionary Aviation.

The aircraft is a small King or Queen Air prop jet with one pilot and approximately 9 passengers. Upon arrival, we were weighed in along with our luggage; it's important to note that the standard allowance is a mere 15 kg (33 lbs) per person, so we paid for excess baggage to bring our dive gear. Don't expect any frills (such as coffee) when you travel to Yap with PMA, but check the seatback pocket for the fascinating story of how PMA acquired the King Air aircraft from donations and support from the Reverend Franklin Graham.

The pilots on our flight getting to Yap from Palau with PMA. Inside the small plane getting to Yap from Palau with PMA.

After a prayer by the PMA chief pilot, we took off and cruised at a lower altitude than commercial aircraft, affording us amazing views of the islands of Palau and Yap. In the small plane, we felt the winds buffet and rock us on approach to the airstrip but only felt the landing gear just kiss the tarmac as the skilled pilot maneuvered us to the ground.

View from the plane getting to Yap from Palau with PMA View beyond the plane propellor getting to Yap from Palau with PMA. Views from the airplane window traveling to Yap from Palau with PMA.

Colonia is the tiny capital of Yap and is a short distance from the airport. We deemed Colonia to be little more than a main crossroads where you will find a supermarket and a couple of basic restaurants. It is one of the least touristy places I have visited for a dive trip. Look for the large discs of "stone money" reflecting historical trading practices in the region. 

Small huts in a grassy area on the island of Yap A boat in the only marina harbor on Yap.

A short stroll from the crossroads sits the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Manta Divers operation on the bay marina - the only one on the island and a tribute to the founders, the Acker family, who have kept their business running following one of the longest pandemic border closures in the world.

Stay tuned for our adventures below the water in Yap! 


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