Monday 7th October 2013 - Drawaqa Island; Manta Ray Territory - or not

Jon & Carol Dutton
Fri 18 Oct 2013 01:46

17:10.30S 177:11.18E


Monday 7th October 2013 – Drawaqa Island; Manta Ray Territory – or not


Sadly, although manta rays were around at high tide during the first couple of days that we spent anchored off Drawaqa Island, we weren’t in the right place at the right time to see them.  We now know to keep an eye out for the spotter boat that leaves from the Manta Ray Resort and give him a shout as he whizzes by to give the thumbs up or down back at base.  The manta rays congregate downstream in the pass – on or just upstream of the reef - around high water, open their enormous mouths and let the plankton pour in on the ebb tide – fast food indeed.


The current through Manta Ray pass is significant enough for you not to want to have to swim against it.  Whilst the snorkelling is quite good you really need to have a boat to drop you off upstream and pick you up once you’ve drifted though the pass.  And then, perhaps, take you back upstream for a repeat performance.  Obviously, resort guests have no problem with that.  Probably the best way for yotties to do it is drive the dinghy upstream, slip into the water whilst keeping hold of the dinghy painter and drift along with the dinghy until through the pass.  Then clamber back aboard and repeat the performance until either you’ve had enough or the manta rays have.  Manta rays or not there are patches of quite interesting coral and plenty of fish over the reef in the pass.  However, quite a lot of coral appears to have suffered as a result of Hurricane Evan last year.




                        Anchored near the Manta Ray pass – the entrance can just be seen centre ground, far right


The Manta Ray Resort doesn’t actually overlook the Manta Ray Pass although it is not far away.   It is a very pleasant, low key, backpacker sort of place; nothing like the 5 star resorts (in terms of price and hubris anyhow) at Denarau Island.  It’s popular with yotties as it sports a pizza oven which is fired up every afternoon between 1630 and 1830 – and very good the pizzas are too.  There is also a reportedly very reasonable restaurant on site which doesn’t charge the Earth.  The resort offers the usual fishing, snorkelling and diving trips, kayaking, a decent beach, bar, internet, TV and that sort of stuff.  Residents are accommodated in small double bed bures (huts really) or dormitories according to taste and budget.  Obviously, given our water caravan anchored off-shore, the on-shore accommodation was of little interest to us.




                                                                            The very laid back Manta Ray Resort          




Carol took advantage of the on site dive shop to do a couple of dives.  The first, known as the Caves of Babylon – no-one knows why – was like an under water obstacle course going through narrow alleys, up and down gulleys and into a couple of caves.  The second dive was far less energetic and boasted lots of coral and fish.  The highlight was a turtle swimming only a few feet away but unfortunately, the photos didn’t come out.