Northward, ho! We broke up the trip with a stop along the way, but tried to save some locations for the sail back down again. Octopus Resort on the island of Waya had a reportedly decent anchorage, so we popped in for a better night’s sleep and a quick poke about the area. It’s a fairly small resort, geared largely towards the primo diving along the reefs to the west, with a stellar sunset view and a quiet easiness only attainable in these more isolated locations. The bar has a creative selection of unexpectedly affordable tropical cocktails (here’s to happy hour), and the man at the dive shack was able to offer us some insight on the local reef fish and which ones are best for eating.
Though the anchorage at Octopus is largely exposed, a surprisingly calm night left us well rested for the next morning’s move. We wove through the inter-island reef system in attempt to land some seafood, but no luck. Rotten luck fishing lately to be honest. We haven’t caught a fish in nearly two months. Sheesh. We squeezed Cavalo through the pass between Nanuya Balavu and Drawaqa, which was only about 4 meters deep, and dropped the anchor just off Manta Ray Island Resort amongst a handful of other boats. With that information you can probably guess why we came here : ) We set the outboard onto the dinghy and zipped around the corner to the next pass to the north (between Drawaqa and Naviti), but honestly it’s so close to the anchorage that if you wanted a bit of exercise you could probably swim there and back. After scoping out a sandy spot to anchor the dinghy, we hopped in the water and in no time at all found three medium-sized manta rays out for lunch. And, by some grace, we were the only ones out at the time and managed to have them all to ourselves! They were timid at first as we were new to the environment, so we observed them from a distance and watched them spin in graceful arcs, feeding on the plankton that the deep tidal pass offers. They disappeared into deeper, darker water, and we swam over to the shallows to explore the fish and coral, but being curious creatures they reappeared minutes later to check us out up close. What fascinating, majestic, alien things they are.
- Anchor in 8 to 10 meters. Sand and seagrass. A longboat from Octopus came out to meet us and showed us exactly where to drop the anchor, so they’re happy to have you and to help.
- As a visitor from a yacht, you will have to go to the office and give them a credit card or cash deposit if you plan on buying anything to eat or drink at the resort.
Manta Ray Island Resort:
- Anchor in 18 to 21 meters. Sand and seagrass.
- The resort is open to cruisers. Large indoor-outdoor seating area with projector screen (we finally got to watch some of the Olympics) and a bar with happy hour. They also have a wood fired pizza oven, and the pizzas are pretty good!
- The staff is obviously very knowledgeable about Manta Rays, and it is strongly recommended that you learn how to approach them properly before jumping in the water.
- As mentioned above, you can take your boat through the pass just off the resort, but it is shallow and the current can be up to 4 knots.
- It is best not to fish in the immediate area. Much of it is marine reserve and the tiny island to the east is currently overfished and being repopulated.
* These notes are offered as observations only and are not meant for navigational purposes.