Day 86, Year 2: From Waya to Swimming with the Mantas
Date: Thursday, July 19, 2007
Weather: Another Sunny, Hazy Day
Location: Anchorage on West Side of Drawaqa Island, Yasawa Group, Fiji

It is interesting out here. None of our charts or maps agree on the name of where we might be, but we know we are in an anchorage on the west side of the small island just south of Naviti Island. We think the guide books might call this Manta Ray Island. On our chart it is called Drawaqa (Eld) Island, and on the C-Maps charts it doesn’t have a name. There is a small resort just north of us before you get to the Tokatokauna Pass and we think this is probably the Manta Ray Resort. The Tokatokauna
Pass is where you are supposed to be able to swim with manta rays, but we went there this afternoon at low tide and saw only beautiful coral and fish. Jans and Christina on Chistina are also here, and they tell us that we need to be in the pass two hours after high tide to see the mantas. So we will try that again tomorrow. Jenelle, the boat from Whangarei, New Zealand, is here as well. We all evacuated Likuliku Bay on Waya Island and moved here. We talked with Ranger, and they arrived in Likuliku
this afternoon just in time for the Thursday night seafood dinner at Octopus Resort. We keep missing each other by one day, but sometime next week we will reconnect.

This morning started with Julia and Bill Cook from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, along with their daughter coming to visit us on Windbird. Bill and Julia owned a commercial goat milking farm in Hawkes Bay, but Bill’s dream is to sail around the world. Julia is just not sure it is her thing. They wanted to see what a cruising boat really looks like. We had a great visit, but the anchorage was rolly and we had a surprise visit by the very poisonous sea snake that lives in these waters, so I’m not sure
Julia got the best introduction. The snake actually came up to the boat and flipped so that we could hear the noise. Very strange. We then took the Cook’s back to shore and picked up Helen Yard and Susie Garretson from Flagstaff, Arizona. Susie is retired and Helen is an ornithologist, now coffee distributor. Her business is call Toucanet Coffee and she is loving what she is doing. They were just interested in our lifestyle and wanted to come and see what yachties do on their boats. We had
a great visit with them, and then we took off for the next anchorage.

Christina left before us, but they stopped at the southern end of Drawaqa to snorkel. We went on to the anchorage and immediately got ready to snorkel. Christina arrived just as we were taking off in the dinghy, so went over to say hello. That’s when we found out that we probably weren’t going to see mantas this afternoon, but we continued on anyway. We didn’t see mantas, but we did see many, many fish, and I got by daily hit of anemonefish. I saw a family of Pink Anenomes, Dusky Anenomes,
and even a few of the anemonefish with turquoise vertical stripes. I just love watching these little guys. When we got back to the boat, I took off by myself to explore the reef along the coast in front of us. Unfortunately I didn’t have the camera, but I saw an incredible sight. There were hundreds of convict fish (yellowish with black vertical stripes) hovering over the coral. The sunlight was bouncing off of them, and I think I missed the picture of the week. But at least I have the memory.

Mark, Steve, and I are spending a quiet evening aboard Windbird. We are actually going to watch the Blue Lagoon video while we eat dinner. We are still debating whether or not we are actually going to make the trek north to the Blue Lagoon. Whatever we do, we will stay here to try and swim with the mantas and then move a little or a lot north.

070719 Day 86 Yasawa Group, Fiji–Leaving Waya Island
070719 Day 86b Yasawa Group, Fiji–Drawaqa Underwater