Manta Ray Pass and Tahina’s Sister

[NOTE: My E-mail posting tool malfunctioned. Posts from the last three days didn’t go up as planned. My friend Mickey has agreed to get the posts published on the Tahina site. Sorry for the problems!]

We left Narewa Bay around 11 AM yesterday. Nice easterly wind, but we went down the west coast of Naviti which has hills at least 200m high. Tahina moved a bit further west near the reefs to get more wind, while Stray Kitty and Jackster stayed closer to shore. They were using charts which didn’t show all the reefs. We had the advantage of Google Earth which had very clear shots of the reefs. The visibility was good as well, and we were able to see each shallow area ahead of time anyway. So, although we started sailing at the back, we were soon ahead.

As we were arriving near Manta Ray Pass, on the south side of the island, I looked with the binoculars at a catamaran ahead. It was a St. Francis 50! I knew from e-mails that s/v Sirius, a SF50 with a new owner from New Zealand, was planning to be in the area soon. So, I hailed him on the radio and they immediately answered. They were surprised because they still couldn’t see us yet (we were 3+ miles away and in the sunlight). Sirius was built the same year as Tahina, the previous serial number, so she is literally her sister ship.

We were so excited to be anchoring near our sister ship that I forgot to pull in the fishing lines. By the time I set the anchor and noticed, we had wrapped both lines on the props! Argh! It took me more than 30 minutes in the water to get the props clear. What a pain! I had never done that before.

The Mantas didn’t appear in the afternoon, so we stayed nearby last night and are hoping to see them today. Unfortunately, Sirius was going north, but we hope to see them again in a few days.

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