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Our next stop was Matacawalevu Island in the Yasawa group on the western side of Viti Levu. Seen from at sea the island group looks like a sunken mountain range with submerged valleys forming narrow channels and peaks rising out of the sea. The entry to the group was difficult. We arrived before sunset. According to the chart the reefs extended a mile off shore. The charts were admittedly inaccurate to over a quarter mile and as we later learned the reef area was exaggerated. With the sun in our face and having no local knowledge of the area, it was unsafe to enter the channel into the lagoon.

It was a dark, moonless night, we had to motor into a fresh headwind and tidal current all night to keep from being swept onto the reefs to leeward behind us. The windward side of the Yasawas was scattered with shoal patches and coral heads dropping off into deep water. It was either too deep to anchor or you run aground. It was a long night keeping us on the narrow course.

The next morning, with the sun behind us it was an easy passage through the lagoon at Sawa-I-Lau to the western side of the island chain. It was a beautiful 14-mile passage down the leeward side of the islands to the anchorage on the southern shore of Matacawalevu.

We delivered another load of books to the school at Vuaki with some books going to the Ratu Meli Memorial School that Global Vision International works closely with. The Pacific Voyagers carried these books and I believe aboard the Uto Ni Yalo from the United States to Fiji. We picked them up at USP to be taken to an outer island school. During our stay in Matacawalevu we planted two gardens, one near the school in Vuaki at the request of the headmaster and the other at the Flying Fish, an extended family community on the south-end of the island. The Flying Fish had hosted Carrie for a month and a half, when she first arrived in Fiji last year and was the place where the Honour Fiji Journey was first conceived.

Together with our project partners from Global Vision International (GVI) we inspected sites for water tank installations. On our last day, GVI delivered a 5200-litre water tank via boat. We rolled it up the hill through the bush to its concrete pad in the small community. GVI provided the expertise to install it and now it will provide fresh water to the families there. It is the first one with a filtration system on the island. We also We had a visitation by a representative from the Ministry of Youth and Sports to the island to lend support and check in on Arthur. Their office provided a working space for the Honour Fiji Journey in Lautoka and we were grateful for their input into the program.

On our last day there, we went on an excursion to see the Manta Rays at nearby Drawaqa Island with Barefoot Resorts. We were fortunate to catch the right time of year. This was an exciting venture for everyone, to be able to swim with these giant gentle creatures. Although it was bit ominous at first to see them swimming towards you coming out of the dim of the water, like graceful phantoms with their seemingly scary open mouths. They can have a body width of at least 25 feet and a body weight up to 3,000 to 5,000 pounds. However, despite their appearance, they are known to be the gentlest creatures in the sea. Their mouths are open to funnel in microscopic plankton as they swim. Apparently there are not many sites in the world where one can experience swimming with the manta rays. We felt very fortunate.



HOME | HONOUR FIJI JOURNEY | SACRED WATERS HONOR JOURNEY | SUSQUEHANNA RIVER HONOR JOURNEY
INDIGENOUS DIGNITY | STATEMENT OF NEED | PARTNERS | HISTORY | PHOTO GALLERY | CONTACT