SUNBIZ

Weather forecast determines Sukaloa’s trips

Captain Iliesa Sukaloa, skipper of the Tai Bulou has been braving the rough seas between the Yasawa(s) and Lautoka the past 15 years. At 62, the Viwa native and father
28 Feb 2018 14:37
Weather forecast determines Sukaloa’s trips
Skipper Iliesa Sukaloa.

Captain Iliesa Sukaloa, skipper of the Tai Bulou has been braving the rough seas between the Yasawa(s) and Lautoka the past 15 years.

At 62, the Viwa native and father of four enjoys every moment he spends at sea.

Mr Sukaloa’s usual route is from Yawasa to Lautoka and back from Monday to Saturday.

He owns a Mercruiser(Mercury Diesel engine) four cylinder engine boat which can carry about 20 passengers.

Mr Sukaloa who started his business when he was 47, said though age had caught up with him he was always cautious of the weather.

This followed an incident five years ago which he can never erase from his mind.

“It was in 2013, I can clearly recollect, I was carrying  20 students from our village who were attending a school in Waya, a neighboring village,” Mr Sukaloa said.

“There were strong wind warnings in the morning but the parents insisted I go pick their children up for school,” he said.

“While we were half way to our destination I saw gigantic waves coming our direction, despite countless efforts in trying to dodge them they proved too strong.”

Mr Sukaloa who was concerned for the children’s safety sought shelter in a deserted island.

“I knew that if I kept going the vessel would eventually capsize; I was worried for the children, so we took shelter there,” he said.

“We spent the night there and there was no form of communication with the outside world.

“The next day when everything died down we got back onto the boat and headed to the village. The parents were relieved to see their children home safely.”

Mr Sukaloa was considered a hero for bringing the children home safely.

The humble Viwa man said it was his routine now that before he went out he would check the weather forecast.

“That experience had taught me not to take the weather lightly, despite my years of experience I will not sail out if there is a forecast of bad weather,” Mr Sukaloa said.

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