Join Us in Celebrating Fijian Sailing Tradition!
To honour the long-held boating tradition in the Fijian Islands, Pacific Blue Foundations brings you the fourth Veitau Waqa – The Boat Lives. Once again, we welcome the you to watch authentic camakau and bakanawa races, discover Pacific sailing culture, and enjoy traditional dancing and singing.
Fijian sailing tradition has 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.
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.
The Camakau in Fijian Sailing Tradition
The camakau was used for travel, fishing, defense, and communication. We celebrate the camakau because it allowed Fijians to cross the seas, travel to new islands, and spread Fijian tradition and culture.
Though a motorized fishing boat may seem like the better alternative, today, in the face of rising oil prices and climate change, the camakau may offer a more cost efficient alternative.
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 deplete 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.
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!