As soon as the weather cleared we left the Blue Lagoon and motor sailed south to Manta Ray Bay. That’s not its real name but it’s what everyone calls it because at the pass between two islands rays gather to feed after high tide. We’d seen this phenomenon in Hanemoenoa Bay in the Marquesas and swam with the rays there but we weren’t about to turn down another experience. Unfortunately, on the day we arrived high tide was too late in the day, and by next morning’s high tide the clouds had moved in again and the wind kicked up so we abandoned the idea and left the pass to the local resort launches packed with tourists.
We sailed further south around Waya Island, the tallest of the Yasawa Group with a profile reminiscent of Ua Pou in the Marquesas, and anchored off its little brother, Wayasewa Island.
We dinghied ashore in the company of the Rehua crew to offer our kava to the mayor and ask permission to anchor here. As we approached the shore five or six tiny children waded out to pull our dinghies in. We were concerned for their safety but they’ve obviously done this before and we raised the outboards and let them at it. These kids are strong!
We were greeted by local resident Lucy and followed her into the village to the home of the mayor, where we all sat on a mat and offered our two bundles of kava.
Check out the enormous and stunning tapa hanging on the wall. The mayor spoke at some length, which was then translated by Lucy in about two sentences. We were welcomed and given permission to visit the village, anchor in the bay, fish and swim in the waters. Then Lucy took us through the village to the school, which at this time of day was in session.
The library made me sad and I wish that we could have brought boxes of books to them. Some cruisers do, but they presumably have bigger boats than we do.
As always, the kids were happy to pose for photos and giggled when we showed them their faces on the camera screen.
When we got to the classroom for the older children the teacher told us a little about the school and the kids sang us a few songs with beautiful harmony, and two boys performed a lively dance, making it clear they enjoyed this interruption to their school day. We thanked them all, and Lucy led us past the school office and the prominently displayed donation box where both boats made a contribution.
Inevitably we were taken to the community hall where the village women had gathered to display their handicrafts, mostly jewelry made from shells and beads they buy on the mainland.
We ended with a lesson in trumpet shell blowing which Lucy found quite amusing. Before we returned to the boats we accepted their invitation to come back that evening to drink kava.
From Escape Velocity we watched some of the school kids make their way along the rocky shore to their own village further down the bay. And after lunch we went ashore again for a bit of beachcombing until the clouds moved in and we had to get back to EV to close the hatches. Wouldn’t you know, just as we were about to dinghy in for kava the heavens opened up and we wondered if we’d be able to find our way back to the beach in the dark and pouring rain. While Seathan on Rehua kept an eye on the radar map for a break in the clouds, we hunkered down and waited.