Day 90, Year 2: Passage from the Yasawas to the Mamanucas
Date: Monday, July 23, 2007
Weather: Beautiful Day, Rainy Evening; ENE 12-18 Knots
Latitude: S 17 degrees 40.837 minutes
Longitude: E 177 degrees 06.704 minutes
Location: Mana Island, Mamanuca Group, Fiji

Today was a 64 mile day from Sawa-i-Lau in the north of the Yasawa Group to Mana Island in the southern part of the Mamanuca Group. Sawi-i-Lau was such a beautiful anchorage and as we left, I know we all wished that we had more time to spend there. I know we will never return there on Windbird, but it would be possible to return to Fiji someday and charter a boat from The Moorings to sail the Yasawas once again. We’ll keep that thought on the back burner

We had expected today to be rainy, but it was actually a beautiful morning. We got an early start from Sawa-i-Lau, had great ENE winds to carry us south, and used the motor to assist us so we could make it all the way south in one day. This will give us an extra day to explore this part of the world before Steve leaves on Thursday evening. Mark and Steve put out a fishing line this morning, using our favorite green squid lure with yellow feathers. We got a bite early, but lost the fish and some
of the green squid. We put it back out, got another strike, but this time we lost the “hook, line, and sinker.” Mark then put on the lure that we learned to make from our friends on Chaotic Harmony back in Vanua Balavu. This lure is a 3-pronged hook, a sinker, and a skirt made from a bright pink Bongo potato chip bag. This was the winner of the day. Steve reeled in a 30 pound, 52 inch long fish. We got at least 20 pounds of fish from this baby and will share it with friends when we reach Musket
Cove tomorrow. Mark had taken our rail-mounted reel and put it on a long paint-roller wooden handle that we had aboard. This more-or-less fashioned a rod and reel, but after working for a VERY long time to bring in today’s catch, Steve definitely thinks we need to get a real rod and reel rig. All I could say is that we did catch a very big fish with our little wooden pole and a potato chip bag. Not a bad deal!

We reached the anchorage on the south side of Mana island at 5 PM. We are anchored next to a catamaran from Lake Tahoe, California, named Manta. Once we were anchored, Mark and Steve went over to say hello and to see if whomever was aboard could help us identify the fish we had caught. It looked a little like a barracuda, but it didn’t have any canine teeth. It looked a little like the Spanish Mackerel we caught back in Yandua, but it was so much bigger that it was hard to discern. Steve on
Manta had a Pacific sport fishing book, and he was able to quickly identify the fish as a Wahoo. That was good news because it meant we could actually eat it. Most cruisers don’t take a chance on eating large barracuda as they sometimes carry Ciquertera or fish poisoning. To thank Steve for his information, we invited him to come to Windbird for happy hour. We had a great visit and gave him a slab of the fish.

We pushed to get to this anchorage today so that we can stop at a little patch of sand called Sand Cay tomorrow morning to snorkel on our our way to Musket Cove. This is what is known as the yachting center of the South Pacific. It is a marina with lots of mooring balls located between two islands–Malolo and Malolo Lailai. This is offshore, but will still have laundry facilities, a small store, and at least a couple of restaurants. We will stay at Musket Cove tomorrow night and rendezvous with
Ranger to get my backpack with camera that was left behind in Yadua. We will then head to to the mainland on Wednesday and do a land trek before Steve leaves on Thursday evening. We will then return to Musket Cove and spend a few days relaxing here in the Mamanuca Group before making a final trip to the mainland to reprovision and check-out of Fiji. Sometime in early August, we will begin our trip to Vanuatu.

070723 Day 90 Mamanuca Group, Fiji–Sawa-i-Lau to Mana Island
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Day 91, Year 2: Mana Island to Musket Cove Marina
Day 89, Year 2: Sunday in Nabukeru Village in Sawi-i-Lau Bay