Join Us in Celebrating Fijian Sailing Tradition!
Fijian sailing tradition has slowly been pushed into the shadows as modern, motorized boats have dominated the waters. Local experts estimate that there are only 30 to 40 people in all of Fiji who still have the ability to build and sail the Fijian sailing canoe, according to The New York Times.
Pacific Blue Foundation believes that there is much to be gained from the Fijian sailing tradition, and wants to promote this sailing culture so the knowledge can be shared, passed down, and retained.
Veitau Waqa highlights the importance of the boat-building skills and sailing techniques that have been practiced by Fijians for over 3000 years.
Here are just a few reasons why we celebrate the Fijian sailing culture:
Fijian Sailing Canoes More Cost Efficient
The cost of maintaining a traditional sailing canoe, or Camakau, over a five-year period of time is estimated to be 3000 to 5000 Fijian dollars. A panga, or motorized fishing boat, on the other hand, would cost 4000 Fijian dollars for just a year’s worth of fuel.
Fijian Sailing Canoes Have Smaller Environmental Impact
Motorized fishing boats contribute to air pollution, since fuel is burned to power the boat, and any fuel spills directly impact the ocean environment. In addition, owners of motorized fishing boats need to catch more fish just to cover the cost of fuel, which can increase fishing pressures and lead to the depletion of fish resources. Since Fijian sailing canoes don’t require fuel, there is less pollution; lower costs also minimize the need to catch as many fish.
Fijian Sailing Canoes Float with the Fish
Some argue that the noise from motorized boats scare the fish away, but the Fijian Sailing Canoe does not. Fijians that have mastered the art of the Camakau can sail right up to schools of fish without startling the marine life, which makes for effective fishing. This sailing experience also emphasizes our connection with the environment, an important aspect of Fijian tradition, and one that fosters respect for the environment.
Learn more about the canoe-building culture!