Taking It Back – Our lady Uto Ni Yalo

On January 14th 2014, the Vaka Moana, UTO NI YALO that sailed around the world with 6 other vakas during the Te Mana O Te Moana voyage was officially handed over to the Uto Ni Yalo Trust (UNYT) and the people of Fiji at Lautoka Wharf by Master Navigator Magnus.

The Uto Ni Yalo before the cermony
The Uto Ni Yalo before the cermony
The Uto Ni Yalo before the cermony
Traditional kava ceremony during the gifting of the Vaka

The historic occasion was a wonderful event and I’m so happy and proud to have been part of it and extremely excited to be a part of her new journey here in Fiji. At the time i was the Secretary of the UTO NI YALO Trust (UNYT) and i was and still am extremely grateful to all the crew, family and friends of our lady Uto and of course the UNYT for opening their arms to me and including me into the wonderful Pacific Voyaging family.

Crew member Filo places a Salusalu (flower necklace) on Master Navigator, Magnus

The whole concept of the gifting after the big voyage 2 years previously that our son got to be a part of and hooked our family into this fantastic world of traditional sailing, was to now go forth and continue reconnecting our cultures, advocating for clean oceans and to pass on the knowledge of Celestial navigation to the younger generations all while using the vakas in between islands as a means of transporting cargo proving that sustainable sea transportation was the better way to go in order to save our oceans.

Happy that she belongs to us now

A tough task ahead you might say…some may say near impossible. To those i say nothing is impossible…besides i want my children’s children and their children and so on to enjoy the beauties of our oceans so why not.


Taking it back – Te Mana o Te Moana: Pacific Voyagers

Bare with me here guys, i’m going to take you all back in time for the next few blogs to catch up with today πŸ™‚

Perhaps i’ll bore the shit out of you…or not…either way, it’s important to me regardless of whether you care or not LOL.

In 2011/2012 a fleet of seven traditional-style voyaging canoes (Vaka Moana) manned by a group of over 100 Pan-Pacific Islanders most who for the first time ever, sailed across the Pacific Ocean we all call home this side of the planet to carry a message of stewardship for the ocean.

It may be interesting to note that each of the Vaka Moana are green vessels totally dependant on the wind and the sun and are based on the old Polynesian double hulled canoes our ancestors would use to sail between islands trading goods.

The Vakas approach San Fransisco’s Golden Gate bridge during the voyage

The sailors many of them being first timers, ranged in ages and nationalities. The men and women were artists, fishermen, teachers, farmers, photographers etc. Some were life-long seaman and others as mentioned were getting their first taste of the open seas. Every single one of them shared one voice and one vision…to save our oceans.

The fleet of 7 Vaka Moana

The fleet sailed from New Zealand to Hawaii, California to Cocos Islands, the Galapagos to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and more following the path of our sailing ancestors using traditional navigational skills and relying on the stars, the wind and wildlife as their guides to reconnect with theirs and other native cultures across the globe and to spread the word of looking after our oceans for the future generations.

During the voyage

It is important to understand that Pacific Islanders have a deeply rooted connection to the land, to the ocean and to the environment. We do not make a distinction between the environment and culture – both are one and the same. The ocean connects families across the Pacific and for hundreds of years one tradition has laid the foundation for the cultures and lives on the islands….Ocean Voyaging.

So in 2012 as the fleet neared the end of their voyage, they hit Vanuatu soil and our Jedi#1 joined the Fijian Vaka the Uto Ni Yalo and sailed back to Fiji as crew at the age of 19. This first taste of sea life (i’ve been told he was sea sick for 2 days) for Zane would eventually tease my eldest son towards a life of a sailor.Something we are so very proud of as he now lives his Father and Mother’s dreams.

The Jedi#1 Zane – Living the dreams of his mother & father
Zane in his cabin which are in the hulls of the canoe

The Pacific Voyaging society advocates heavily for the oceans and it’s residents. Cleaner oceans, cleaner world….it’s simple really, if we keep polluting the oceans with plastic, balloons etc then eventually the oceans will die.

The oceans die…..we die too….

Crew of the Fijian vaka UTO NI YALO say hi to a visitor

Fiji Me

Fiji is a country filled with people of many different races,Β many cultures and religions. The diversity of the country is amazing for one so small. These are just a few of the many images I have taken over the years.

Some will be pleasant images, some not so pleasant…such is the life of a photo-journalist.

This album is a work in progress….enjoy.

Daylight Savings kicks off

Daylight savings kicked off this morning with the family almost sleeping in.

Once successfully up, the young ones proceeded to walk around as if they were part of the Walking Dead cast. Can’t say I felt much different myself t be honest..am currently on my 3rd strong coffee as I write this just to get myself into action.

So here’s to daylight savings..fingers crossed mornings get better..

Have a great week everyone πŸ™‚

Flying the noble banner blue

Flying the noble banner blue

Fijians the world over love our rugby…maybe I should stress that a bit more…we LOVE our rugby!!

On any given day children, teens and adults…male and female can be seen throwing a rugby ball around as the sun sets on our beautiful shores.

Children in villages and suburban homes for that matter that can’t afford a simple pleasure like a rugby ball substitute it with an empty PVC Coke bottle or a coconut that’s how addicted we are to our rugby.

Sevens Rugby is our National sport…end of story and when the IRB 7s circuit starts every year hoards of Fijian fans travel following our Fiji team to watch them play around the world.

While this is going on, just about all TV sets in Fiji are tuned into the games at home and in villages people will congregate by the numbers to the one or 2 sets available so they don’t miss the action.

Children, men and women will scream the house down, swear, cry and laugh when the team plays and if the team wins a particular circuit, taxis will blare their horns throughout the night to show that we have won.

Flags can be seen on cars, houses, buildings, on people etc as we cheer our team on and fly the noble banner blue.

The above image shows Fiji fans in full force at one of the IRB circuits.

The Conch Shell – announcing in the Islands

A conch shell on the beach at Monster Mush on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

The Triton shell, also known as ‘Triton’s trumpet’ Charonia tritonis, is used as a trumpet in Melanesian and Polynesian culture.

Conch shell trumpets were historically used throughout the South Pacific, in countries such as Fiji. In resorts in Fiji they still blow the shell as a performance for the tourists. It is still used today to announce the arrival of Chiefs, Royalty and special guests to functions etc.

In the past and sometimes still today we also used the conch shell when a chief dies: the chief’s body would be brought down a special path & the conch would be played until the chief’s body reached the end of the path.

Kokoda (pronounced Co-con-dah)

Kokoda (pronounced Co-co-n-dah)

Kokoda is an island delicacy made from raw fish marinated/soaked in Coconut milk with onions, chillies.

It is left in a fridge over night and served as is in coconut milk with a squeeze of Lime or Lemon.

Eat with Cassava/Tapioka or Taro/Dalo and is can be eaten as either a side dish with your meal or a snack on it’s own…absolutely delish!!!

The fruit of life – The Coconut

The perfect way to cool down, refresh & nourish oneself. With the one thing unique to the islands – the Coconut!

Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content.

Intersting to note…the juice from a coconut is perfect for hangovers πŸ™‚

Examples of Tapa Usage in Fiji

traditional wear Traditional wear made from Tapa

traditional wedding A Traditional Custom Fijian Wedding – notice both Bride & Grooms outfits are made out of Tapa & Masi (tree bark)

Miss South Pacific 2012, Alisi Rabukawaqa Reigning Miss South Pacific 2012/13, Miss Fiji, Alisi Rabukawaqa wearing a Traditional Tapa outfit