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Let’s Build a Fleet

The first research vessel, Mana, was donated to Islands & Seas via the magic of a classified ad.



“After seeing a for sale ad in Latitude 38, I contacted Tony to talk about the boat. He decided to gift the boat to us, because he was excited about the idea of her having a second (or third) life as a research vessel,” says Islands & Seas cofounder Dr. Lauren Esposito. “Mana is really perfect for studying islands and shallow ecosystems because she has a very shallow draft and is ketch rigged, so she’s a little more stable in the water than sloop rigged boats.” 

Former owner and generous donor Tony Smario was originally from the Bay Area. He bought and restored Mana in the 2000s. After sailing her all the way down to Sayulita, Mexico, he fell in love with the community and decided to stay. After a storm rendered Mana worse for wear, he decided it was time to sell. 


Mana is currently “on the hard” in San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico. This year, Mana needs to have fiberglass repaired on her bottom, the engine overhauled and reinstalled, a new propellor made and a new rudder fabricated. If dreams came true, she would receive new electrics as well: chartplotter, weather station, depth sounder and electricity. 


“We have big dreams for Mana. Once she’s restored, she will be the only research vessel in the world that’s dedicated to the study of coastal and island ecosystems. She would be able to access shallow coastal ecosystems without disturbing these environments,” Dr. Esposito says.


Can you help us create a floating discovery laboratory?  Donate today.

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