We did make it to Mana. The pass is quite tight, but actually has plenty of water - even if it is so clear, it looks like there isn’t. You have to recalibrate your colour-to-depth mapping somewhat!
Once in, we anchored near Pirlouit and Robusta. We had been told by Sanne, on Pirlouit, that we could not anchor in the first bay due to the filming of a TV show - Survivor. One that has passed me by but is apparently quite a thing.
We hosted beers onboard Duplicat, and then we all went ashore to the restaurant for dinner and had a very pleasant meal. Thomas took myself and the crew, which made things easy for us ;)
The next morning, I zipped ashore at 8am to talk to the dive shop. They could fill Pirlouit’s tanks and also suggested the Supermarket dive site which was where they were headed. Sounded good to us, even if it was a 3 mile dinghy ride. Getting there was easy, and on approach we noticed a boat on a mooring. As we approached, he dropped it and let us know we could use it - which we promptly did. Kitting up, Sanne discovered her BCD was continually inflating. Unable to effect a repair, Dries decided to sit in the dinghies, which made our dive super easy - we could just drift and then get picked up. It was a lovely dive.
On the way back, which was into the weather which had picked up, Ania and I found another mooring and we decided we’d dive that the next day. We bashed our way back to the pass and to the boats. Not much fun!
Next day, the sea was flat - so we zipped out to the mooring we had found. Within 5 minutes, a pirogue came over to us to tell us we couldn’t stay there as they were filming and we’d be in shot. In fact, even the Supermarket dive site which was a mile offshore was closed. It was very irritating to only find this out when we had got to the site. What worries me is that we often drift with the dinghies above - would these clowns have taken our dinghies in tow without realising we were 20m underneath, diving? Why couldn’t they have had the courtesy to tell the 5 boats in the anchorage the plans for the next day? We had a chat at the mooring deciding our plans, then returned to the boats, picked up anchor and left. Robusta had already left, but the sight of Pirlouit, us and Obiwan (another yacht who had been out snorkelling the reef) all leaving must have brought it home. I hope the TV money is worth the reputational damage...
We had decided to dive the outside of Castaway reef, which is where we had done our drone shoot before. This time the crew, and Pirlouit had more plans for the drone....
We then headed around the reef to drift dive the outside wall. A very nice dive indeed. Dries and I were towing our dinghies, with them tied together too - and it was a very relaxing drift in a slight current. In fact, with so little swimming, I was cold by mid-dive and somewhat relieved when half-tanks was called. Ania and I hit the surface with half-tanks, but the other two were on 50bar - so a nicely timed dive. There was much to see, and both of us could have stayed a bit longer - but for the cold.
Dive photos to follow...
Then it was a motor down to Namotu island ready for surfing the next morning. It’s all go!