Again, in the morning, I picked up Siwa from the village to see if we could find any Mantas. We first called the village at Buliya. The elders had not seen any wisdom in discounting visiting fees for visiting sailboats. 40 Fijian Dollars may be reasonable to folks visiting from resorts or cruise ships but I doubt if this will help attract sail boats. Regardless, I took Siwa over to the island where they visit their cleaning station but they weren’t present. The location was also very choppy so there was no sense in waiting.
Back at the boat Siwa was booked to take the Ossos, Jacksters and John&Stuart (Sea Mist/Imagine) on a dive west of the island. We got ourselves in on the dive. It was a bit far, we weren’t prepared and we also had plans to move west so we killed three birds with one stone and took Dignity around to the west side of the island while we prepared the dive gear.
The other boats followed a short while later meeting up where we anchored. By then we were all ready. Helen stayed behind, Anne went aboard Osso’s large runabout and John and I followed in our dinghy. The surface waters by the dive were very choppy but down below the visibility was excellent as was the dive. The area was all canyons with lots of swim throughs. Siwa did a very good job as a dive master. I know the Jacksters and Ossos who have done quite a few trips with him have been equally pleased. We thoroughly recommend him. If you’re researching for your trip, look up Siwa in the village of Naqara in Ono. According to our dive nut buddies this area exceeds the more famous rainbow reef at the east end of Vanua Levu so we do recommend this.
Once back from the dive we washed down our gear, showered then at lunch. Straight after we set off. We were soon under sail with two lines out. Anne had chosen the lure for the fishing rod which I had prepared a few days previously. Half way to our destination the reel sang. We soon had the head sail in to reduce boat speed and John pulled in the handline to avoid a snarl up. We knew we had a mahi mahi early on as it had a lot of spirit and leapt out of the water a couple of times. I gave Anne the job of bringing the fish in. We didn’t lose it and soon had it aboard. It weighed in at 10 pounds. I tied a knot round it’s tail allowing us to bleed it out in the water behind the boat. As we were a few miles from our destination we left the fish on the back step so we could focus on arrival.
Soon after the catch we briefly spied dolphins in the water behind us. They didn’t approach the boat too closely but one did a flip out of the water to show off. We could see them splashing off into the distance behind us so perhaps they were hunting.
Given the time we left after lunch the most appropriate land fall was the bay west of the village of Daku. With Helen and John at the bow we threaded our way in between the reefs anchoring in very protected and calm waters.
Once we were safely anchored we turned our attention back to our mahi mahi. I lopped of the head and tail which we put into a bag along with some more of the Wahu of which we still have a fair amount. I cleaned the fish and cut it into four steaks. I filleted one side of one of the steaks leaving the other seven halves to Anne. John and I took the dinghy ashore navigating a shallow but vibrant reef to give sevusevu to the headman at Daku. We met the headman, Epi, on the beach. He took us to his home where Epi performed the ceremony. We learned we were the first boat here this year and felt really bad telling him we were only stopping for the night. We know how much the villagers like to hear from overseas people and it was a shame to have to stop by so briefly. I said that Helen and I would be coming back to Fiji next year and hopefully we could stop by then.
Back on Dignity the filleting and clean up was complete and the mahi mahi curry was progressing well. It turned out to be an excellent meal. Fresh deep water fish on the table in three hours. It doesn’t get much better.
We finished the evening off by watching a movie. Despite it being very engaging we all felt extremely tired and failed to reach the end of the movie. That will have to wait.
This evening we’ll be sailing north west to Musket Cove marina west of the main island. It will be an overnight sail so today we’ll be one of relaxation to prepare for the trip. We may move Dignity into the reef area in front of a nearby resort but nothing more taxing is planned for today.