Last October I got a call from the Chief of Totoya Island (Roko Sau) letting me know that a whale had gotten stuck inside a lagoon near his island. I’d never been to the Lau Islands before yet had always heard lovely things about the clear waters and teeming marine life of this remote island group. Roko Sau (who also works for the Pacific Blue Foundation) was enthusiastic and managed to charm us a ride on a Super yacht thanks also to the support of Yacht Help Fiji.
A VISIT to Totoya Island was a trip I had always looked forward to after hearing so much about it. The island is within Yasayasa Moala group because of its neighbouring three islands of Totoya, Moala and Matuku, positioned in a triangular shape. They are traditionally linked. I signed up for this particular trip with […]
THE humpback whale that was trapped in the Vakamatuku lagoon in Totoya, Lau has finally freed itself.
District representative Semesa Lesi confirmed the whale finally made its way out of the lagoon on New Year’s Day after being trapped for more than 10 weeks.
He said the Roko Sau Josefa Cinavilakeba paid a visit to the lagoon while the whale was still there.
“But after that, the whale managed to find its way out,” Mr Lesi said.
Come Share in the Fijian Sailing Cultural Experience!
When: Saturday, 6 October, 2012, 9 am – 4 pm
Where: Suva City Carpark Foreshore
Dr. Cara Miller, Pacific Islands Program Manager for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society International, joined the rescue team in Totoya and advised the team on how to lure the whale back to sea. The rescue team made three attempts to help the humpback whale, but could not lead Ravouvou ni Toba to the opening of the lagoon.
Dr. Miller conducted an awareness workshop in all four villages on Totoya Island, providing locals with information about humpback whales. If locals understand Ravouvou ni Toba’s lifestyle, they will realize he is not accustomed to being trapped in a lagoon, and will be careful not to disturb him.
Once the pride of the islands in Lau, the major shipbuilding and sailing centre recognised across the Pacific for its fine craftsmanship, knowledge of the traditional drua culture is fragile with the descendants of the mataisau (traditional Fijian builders) and lemaki (Samoan specialist craftsmen brought to Lau in the late 1800s) in old age.
The threat of losing information held by the children and grandchildren of the mataisau and lemaki who built some of Fiji’s great drua fleets has spurred renewed interest in reviving Fiji’s sailing heritage.
The Fiji Islands Voyaging Society (FIVS), which was born in 2009 with the aim to revive and sustain traditional Fijian canoe building, sailing and navigational knowledge, skills and customs, started an extensive research in 2011 to collect, collate and archive existing knowledge of the drua with funding by the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies of the University of the South Pacific.
Mr Donovan said some ways in which village representatives could avoid overuse of marine resources was by defining their issues and what strengths they wanted to build on in their community and environment.
“We are here to assist villages in standing on their own two feet without relying heavily on what is handed to them by government or other non-governmental organisations,” he said.
“We want to see the people actually doing the work themselves, carrying out their responsibilities which were assigned to them by the provincial council.
“When dealing with people offering assistance on development, they need to check credentials and permits.
“That is vital as it gives them background on what type of development is being offered by the other stakeholders.”
Mr Donovan said it was important for village representatives to embrace new ideas for sustainable resource management and to learn from workshops that were held in the province.
Roko tui Rewa Timoci Kacanavesi said the assistance from the NGOs like Pacific Blue Foundation was in great demand because it directed representatives on what they were to do within their villages, districts and provinces.
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TOTOYA ISLAND, FIJI – Josefa Cinavilakeba, Roko Sau of Totoya and Fiji Islands Coordinator for Pacific Blue Foundation, is making an effort to protect the whales by going from village to village, spreading awareness throughout Totoya.
Totoya villagers are sharing traditional stories about whales, and elders have even reported that this is not the first time a whale has become disoriented and trapped in the lagoon. A whale was said to be caught in the same location for three weeks in the 90s.
Saturday, October 13, 2012 by Nasik Swami
EFFORTS are now being made to rescue a whale that has been stranded in Dravuwalu, Totoya in Lau over the past three weeks.
Roko Sau of Totoya Island Josefa Cinavilakeba confirmed that a rescue team compromising experts from the Pacific Blue Foundation and the Department of Fisheries will leave Suva for Totoya on Monday.
Monday, October 8, 2012 by Ropate Valemei
FIJI should not rely on using petroleum in boats to help conserve the marine bio-diversity and tradition.
Pacific Blue Foundation is not organising the Veitau Waqa (boat race) annually for competition purposes only but also wants to send a message that Fiji should use wind power instead of petroleum.