Island News

MV Lycianda sailors go island hopping

Written By : LOSALINI RASOQOSOQO. For them, it was a wonderful chance to change directions. Their ship had always plied the Yasawa waters and a change to view the widespread
30 May 2009 12:00

image Written By : LOSALINI RASOQOSOQO. For them, it was a wonderful chance to change directions.
Their ship had always plied the Yasawa waters and a change to view the widespread Lau Islands was discussed at length in the dining room.
Preparations for the trip to Northern Lau had begun as soon as news came that a group of Fiji’s leading corporate bodies would take their business to Lau.
The crew of the MV Lycianda was excited.
Everyone made plans and switched their schedules accordingly. It would be the ship’s first trip to the far-flung Lau Islands and it also became the first vessel for Blue Lagoon Cruises Ltd to do the journey.
It would be one good, long journey and the crew straight away made plans, from top to deck, and stern to bow.
The crew is made up of mostly island boys and it was hardly surprising that the island boys got the first nod to man the MV Lycianda to Lau.
Traditional relations came into view and among those chosen were crew members who hailed from Lau, Kadavu and Yasawa.
Captain Saula Tuiloma from Moala, Lau was appointed Skipper and was ably assisted by his Chief Mate Jitoko Vosarua of Nayau as his Chief Mate.
They began filling their journals and log books as the voyage would be quite historic.
The MV Lycianda is all-flash, just like all tourist ships…splendid interior, splendid services and splendid surroundings.
Part of the historic journey would be that it was the first time the ship took a whole load of locals as its major clients in one go.
“The trip was a great experience to most of the crew because they have been only sailing to the Yasawa Islands,” Captain Tuiloma said.
He said the experience was exhilarating because the Lau Islands were beautiful, just like the Yasawas, but more exotic in appearance. He quite liked the distance between islands because he got to enjoy sailing the ship over those waters.
“I believe there is a major difference between trips we usually take in the Yasawa Islands than this one and it’s always a great experience to enjoy something like this out at sea,” Captain Tuiloma said.
“We are so used into seeing the islands all stretched in front of us in the Yasawas but the Lau Islands are different,” he said. “We see the various islands drifting from all angles and I can tell you my boys are quite overwhelmed.”
It was a great criss-cross sailing experience that Captain Tuiloma and his crew enjoyed from Day One into the Lau Islands.
The MV Lycianda set sail from Walu Bay and made for Lakeba, Nayau, Cicia, Tuvuca and Vanua Balavu. While it was other crew members’ first experience, it was not for Captain Tuiloma.
“When I started learning how to sail ships like this one, I used to sail to Lau, so I am familiar with the place,” he said.
“For the six years I was with the Marine Department, the Lau Group was one of the places that I traveled to quite often,” he said.
The trip had gone on a historic trade sail to Lau and was on charter by several corporate companies who took their business to the islands in a bid to sell off pieces of equipment and general hardware and technological accessories to island-based citizens.
The plan was to send messages in advance so that people in the islands, who earn money through various means, can save up and buy more in bulk. The experience was grand for many customers as many came to the trade exhibits in those islands visited and bought stuff they had never owned before like, handifones, cell phones, hardware items, good old fishing equipment and accessories.
Both company executives and passengers enjoyed the services of the MV Lycianda and The FijiSUN was invited to join to provide reports on the trade exhibition.
As for those in the islands, many also expressed their delight in welcoming the vessel to the island and meeting the crew.
Many even managed to go into the ship to view the interior and have a chit-chat with Captain Tuiloma and his crew.
The people of Tuvuca, a little rocky island almost an hour by speed boat from Vanua Balavu, provided a delicious dinner spread.
It was an experience for Captain Tuiloma and his crew and sailing into the sunset from the picturesque Qilaqila Bay of Islands in Vanua Balavu on May 20 brought home far too many memories of the beauty of the Fiji Islands.
“Most of them are still talking about this trip and every conversation has centred around it,” Captain Tuiloma said. “It is a trip they will never forget.”
“And we are looking forward to many more trips ahead,” he said.
They just might realise their dream because another trade exhibition is being planned for islands further down (Yasayasa), which includes Moala, Matuku and Totoya.
It would be another unforgettable experience for the crew of MV Lycianda.

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