NATION

From Hobby To Sea Voyage

Setareki Ledua is from Naividamu, Fulaga in Lau. He loves sailing and at 23 he has lost count of the places and ports he had sailed into while on board
22 Jul 2015 16:07
From Hobby To Sea Voyage
Setareki Ledua is part of the Uto ni Yalo crew. Photo: Luisa Qiolevu and Paulini Ratulailai

Setareki Ledua is from Naividamu, Fulaga in Lau.

He loves sailing and at 23 he has lost count of the places and ports he had sailed into while on board the Uto Ni Yalo.

This is a double hull canoe belonging to the Uto Ni Yalo Trust (formerly known as the Fiji Islands Voyaging Society).

Uto Ni Yalo is used to revive and sustain traditional Fijian canoe building, sailing and navigational knowledge, skills and customs and has sailed open-ocean voyages along ancient Pacific migratory routes to help re-establish historical ties and significant cultural links with people all over the Pacific.

Mr Ledua joined the Uto Ni Yalo as a crew member when he was 19.

“It was in 2010 when I was sailing around the Suva Harbour on my camakau (outrigger canoe) when I saw the Uto Ni Yalo berthed at the harbour and I sailed up to her,” he said.

“I overheard the crew members’ conversation on the things they learn on board so I decided to join. I started as a volunteer.

“I come from a family of six siblings. I’m the fourth child. Like everyone who leaves home for the first time, it’s always hard. It was a good experience and I learned a lot.

“Now if I have to stay at home, it would be three to four months and then it’s out in the Ocean for more travel.

“Being a crew member of the Uto Ni Yalo is not just about sailing from one country to another, but also learning about who we really are as an iTaukei, doing environmental advocacy work and most importantly knowing more about our  tradition and culture.”

Ledua has learned the ropes well since becoming a crew member four years ago.

“In 2011, I learned traditional navigation in New Zealand and in Hawaii,” he said.

“From volunteering I then became our watch captain and now I am our chief officer and also our traditional navigator. Being on this canoe is all about learning new things every day and that is the beauty of sailing on board the Uto Ni Yalo.

“There is a lot of opportunity for school dropouts and for those who want to experience sailing we have basic training on board the Uto Ni Yalo.

“Our culture is slowly fading and we the youths have to protect it by learning more and be proud of who we really are instead of getting too occupied with the modern technologies and the changes we now live in,” he said.

Feedback: luisa.qiolevu@fijisun.com.fj

 


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