Category Archives: Daily Lime

Exploring Mana Island

While waiting for our mail sail t be repaired, we decide to head to Mana Island, a small island about 10nm to the west of the mainland of Viti Levu.   We stopped by this little island while my sister, Kimberly and her family were visiting, but we wanted to come back to explore some more.

Mana Island has a small airport and is home to the 2nd oldest resort in the Mamanucas, Mana Island Resort.  This resort is owned by the Chinese who built a rather ugly fence down the middle of the island to separate its leased property from the backpacker resorts.

Mana is also where Survivor: Game Changers was filmed and we were determined to find its location.  So, it seems an exploratory hike is in order.

Hiking Around Mana Island

The Plan: find the Survivor set (which is on Maps.me), the bunker, and the cross.  It shouldn’t be too hard, just a little adventuring.  We should have brought the garmin to determine how far we truly walked and to show you the entire path, but we forgot it.  I did not think to turn on my maps.me app until we were half way through our hike, so I will walk you through our path.

Sugar Shack is at the blue arrow. We take the dinghy to the beach (left side of island, below “South Beach.”  We walk along the beautiful beach during low tide which gives us access around the entire bottom tip of the island (the yellow on the map indicates the beach area and the green is hillside).  

Once on the windward side (right side of island), we head up hill (start of the light blue dots) and make our way to through a very exclusive, 5-star resort, called Tadrai Dream Resort.  Oops, we weren’t supposed to be here.  However, the staff let us wander through the back of the small 5 villa resort to the top of the hill where the cross is located.  From here we walk the ridge to the bunker, then down to what is supposed to be the Survivor set.  Through the 4-star Mana Resort and back to the beach where we started.

Beach Walk

The start of our walk was super pretty along several long sandy beaches.  The hillsides are dry as we are on the dry side of Fiji, but the beaches are beautiful with untouched sands. 

Once we round the tip of Mana Island, we encounter beautiful purple rocks scattered around the beach.  I just love the beautiful art nature created on these rocks.

We reach the end of the beach where a giant cliff prevents us from continuing on (top left picture) so we turn left up the hill.  We get to a small road.  To the left is heli-pad (lower right corner) and to the right is the very exclusive, 5-star resort Tadrai Dream.  We did not know it was a 5-star resort until we got back to the village.  But it sure did look pretty with a negative edge pool and its 5 villas (yep, only 5 villas).

The trail is a combination of a dirt path and tree limbs lined up to make stairs.

The top of the hill rewarded us with beautiful views.  I did not take any photos of the cross as it was less than pretty.  Sugar Shack is the white dot in the dark blue water to the right.

We can see on either side of the island: the anchorage and the windward side.

Bunker and Survivor Set

We continue on to the bunker which is just along the ridge line.  It appears there was a controlled burn here and a very old antenna.  Can you see the bunker in the top photo (see the burn area and then a white box)?

As we continue along the path we head back down hill to the “Survivor” camp which is what Mana is famous for.  However, we circle, and circle, and circle and come up with the big donut hole.  However, we did find a large rectangle field that was cut out from the shrubbery.  Perhaps the “challenges” were held here.  But the actual spot where it says “Fiji Survivor Set” is nothing but leaves on the ground.

Well that was a bit disappointing – not sure what we expected to find, but nothing was not it.  Not even an immunity charm!

We continued on and ended up at the Mana Resort (another “exclusive” place) and we just walked right in all smelly and dirty from our hike.  They did not seem to mind and let us continue on.

We ended the walk at the village where we saw the most fruitful papaya tree – it had 7 growing branches!

Overall a great exploration of Mana Island.  We managed to walk around half the island which is about 4.2 miles. 

The events from this blog occurred in early September 2022.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events.  Our main sail explodes in our last blog, Tired and Work Out.

Musket Cove Regatta: Sandbank Race & Awards

The third and final race of the Musket Cove Regatta 2022 is called the “Sandbank” race.  It is short, maybe 5nm in total, but it proved to be challenging with very light winds.  All the competitors start at the sandbank inside the reef, then fight for position through the pass, out to a mark, then back.

The captain and team on “Wow” are determined to redeem ourselves after our poor showing and retirement from the Around the Island Race.  The boat is prepared, we are psyched and ready!

Engines are off 5 minutes before the start and we position Wow at the start.  Only working sails can be used for the first 5 minutes to ensure everyone has plenty of room and can see as they exit the small pass.

The Musket Cove Regatta photographer gets a few great photos of the crew on Wow.

We quickly take the lead despite the very light winds.  The spinnakers slowly start to be unfurled as everyone desperately tries to capture the wind.

We unfurl our red spinnaker and see little puffs that catapult us forward.  There are times we only have 1-2kts of wind.

Surprise!  Burt is trying to take our lead

We slowly start to see the local boat, Burt approach.  The owner of “Burt” is also the owner of Malolo Island (aka Musket Cove) and organizer is of the race.  He won first place in the Around the Island Race.  Yes, he won his own race in his super light hobie cat boat!

Burt made this a challenging race.  They quickly overtook us, then we were side by side. It wasn’t until we made the mark that we took the lead.

It was super difficult to maintain the lead back through the pass and to the finish, but we did it!  How the heck did we out maneuver this lightning fast boat?

Wow, what a great feeling to come in first on the Sandbank Race on the 2nd race in the Musket Cove Regatta 2022 race week.

Award Ceremony

The closing night was a huge party and celebration.  There were tons and tons of prizes for the hobie cat races, SUP races, Around the Island Race, and the Sandbank Race.

They had an enormous amount of food including pigs cooked in a lovo.

The sponsors gave away lots of swag during the race as well.  This does not include the prize winnings.

Sure was fun participating in the 2022 Musket Cove Regatta Race week.  Wouldn’t have been the same without being crew on the beautiful boat Wow!  Feeling pretty blessed about now.

The events from this blog occurred in early September 2022.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events.  We retire from the most challenging race during the Musket Cove Regatta – did you read about it?

Musket Cove Regatta: Around the Island Race

The Around the Island Race is the most serious and competitive race of the Musket Cove Regatta week.  The course takes the racers around two islands, inside the reef, Malolo and Castaway  where the boats will see winds coming from all directions.  It is a challenging race with lots of boats trying to out maneuver their competitors in small sailing grounds around dangerous coral reefs.

Around the Island Race

Around the Island Race

Our captain, Dave is feeling confident in his boat and his team.  He is a big racer and very competitive.  He has raced his boat “Wow” several times in many challenging races and won most of them.

In order to make his already light boat lighter, he empties his water tanks, leaves his dinghy, anchor chain and anchor behind at the anchorage.  All to lighten the weight of the boat to make her go faster.  We then change the working sails to the “racing sails” and prepare the code zero and spinnaker on deck.   The captain is prepared to win the Around the Island Race.

There are 24 boats competing in the race but another 10-12 boats are participating and clogging up the course.   The start is tricky as you can go on either side of a sand bank when the horn blows.  Nobody can use anything other than working sails (until 5 minutes after the race starts).  This is to give the boats a chance to get through a narrow portion of the course without having huge head sails out.

The Start: Around the Island Race

We had a rough start and picked the wrong side of the start line.  We got between two boats and had to give way to get past a reef.  Then we got stuck in the wind shadow of a large monohull and could not pass for a good 10 minutes (which is a lifetime in a race)

It was our fault for coming up on their leeward side, if we had room we would have come up on their windward side and stole their air.  But

We were in 5th place at this point (30 minutes into the race) and were finally given enough space to overtake the monohull (who later one first place for monohulls). You can see our jib luffing as the dirty wind comes past the other boat.

We started to round the corner by Castaway and were putting out the code zero when we noticed we had a huge problem!  The top of the jib had a severe tear in it.   The code zero (which is a large head sail) was already being launched and then we furled the jib. 

We had to evaluate our options.  We knew as we rounded the Malolo island we would be directly into the wind and would need our jib.  The code zero and spinnaker are for downwind and or reaching.  With no way to finish, we decided to turn the engines on, turn around and head back to the anchorage.  It was a DNF for us and we were the only boat to not finish.  Really disappointing.  

We really had a bad day as we all made bad decisions that caused delays and set backs.  But it was a good learning experience.  Just unfortunate that we are no longer contenders for the “Around the Island Race.”

Winners

I will say that the race could have been organized a lot better, in my humble opinion.  They only had 2 categories: monohulls and multihulls.  The problem with that is they had 3 local hobie cat boats (that are not “live aboard”) enter the race.  They are super small, light, and very agile.  Live aboard boats just can’t compete against these boats at all (considering we have beds, galleys, toilets, refrigeration). 

But it was a proud moment for Fijians as the top three spots went to locals.  Each of these boats finished the race in under 1 hr 35min and the next cruising boat (live aboard) finished a full 25 minutes after.

All in all, it was a good race day, nobody got hurt and everyone had fun.  In our next blog we try to redeem ourselves in the sandbank race.

Damage to the Jib

Once we got back we were able to assess the damage to the very expensive racing jib.  The top seam delaminated and the next seam down seemed well on its way to doing the same thing.  We couldn’t have done anything during the Around the Island Race.

Even the photos at the start of the race showed the compromised sail.

 

The events from this blog occurred in early September 2022.  Our blog posts run 6-8 weeks behind actual events.  We win the first race, the beachcomber race, in the Musket Cove Regatta 2022.