Day 91, Year 2: Mana Island to Musket Cove Marina
Date: Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Weather: Glorious Day; NE 5-8 Knots
Latitude: S 17 degrees 46.219 minutes
Longitude: E 177 degrees 11.325 minutes
Location: Malolo LaiLai Island, Mamanuca Group, Fiji

The anchorage on the south side of Mana island was quiet during the night as the winds settled down to almost nothing. We got up early and spent some time relaxing before taking off for a snorkeling expedition around Sand Cay. Mark and Steve went over to the neighboring boat, Manta from Lake Tahoe, to get a memory stick back from Steve this morning. He said he had the fish we had given him last night as sashimi and that it was excellent. That definitely gave us an idea for lunch.

Sand Cay is a tiny little sand island with nothing on it but sand and a surrounding reef with an entrance on the east side. We had decent light and worked our way into the reef and anchored in sand just before the coral shelf. We had a fantastic snorkeling experience with lots and lots of fish. The coral was good, but the best thing about this site is the volume of fish. I saw a couple of fish that I haven’t seen before in Fiji. Unfortunately the sun seemed to stay behind a cloud the whole time
we were in the water and only began to shine brightly once we got out. If we had been in the water when the sun was shining brightly, it would have been an even better experience. We played around for a while when we got back on the boat. Steve and I fed the Sergeant Majors and watched them go into a feedind frenzy over just a few crumbs of whole wheat bread. By now the sun was shining in a bright blue sky. The little white sand island surrounded by turquoise water was just beautiful and I decided
that I could just stay right in that spot forever. But the winds started to pick up a little and it began to get a little rolly, and then the tourist boats came, so we moved on.

It took about two hours for us to pick our way through the reefs to reach Musket Cove Marina. This is a Mecca for boaters in the South Pacific and it is in a beautiful setting between two islands. I had talked to Paul on Ranger this morning and he said they would be back from a two-tank dive by noon and that he would be glad to meet us and lead us to a mooring ball. He called again on the VHF just before we arrived and he helped us tie up to a mooring ball just beside Ranger and in back of Endangered
Species.

Paul and Marie came over for a short visit right after we arrived and we conjured up a farewell party for their guest Sharon who is leaving tomorrow. We decided to have sashimi and sushi from the Wahoo we caught yesterday as an appetizer on Ranger and then move to Windbird for a spaghetti dinner. We invited Rick and Robin of Endangered Species and Donna and Gerry of Scot Free II to join us. Mark and Steve went in to the marina office to check in and go to the little grocery store for me to pick
up some salad makings while I stayed on the boat and made the bolognaise sauce. We all gathered on Ranger at 5:30 and came back to Windbird by 7:00. We had a great evening visiting and eating. The Wahoo provided some of the best sushi and sashimi that any of us had ever eaten. What a treat!

Tomorrow we make our way back to the mainland. We are still hoping to do a tour of the Viti Levu highlands on Thursday before Steve leaves on that evening. We have had an absolutely fabulous time while Steve has been here and we are really going to miss him.

070724 Day 91 Mamanuca Group, Fiji–Sand Cay to Musket Cove Marina
070724 Day 91b Mamanuca Group, Fij–Sand Cay Underwater
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