Time for our first newsletter of the year.
I returned to Honolulu last month after spending just over five weeks in Fiji.
It was an enlightening journey in many ways. Over the next month you’ll continue to see stories that have been generated from the trip.
I want to thank Tourism Fiji, Air Pacific, Vodafone and quite a few other people for helping me along the way.*
I was literally all over the map.
I visited Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni the Mamanucas and Beqa. I stayed at a variety of properties including Sonaisali, Matanivusi, Beqa Lagoon Resort, Lalati, Holiday Inn Suva, Makaira, Taveuni Island Resort, the Copra Shed Marina, Palmlea, Wailoaloa Beach Resort and Smuggler’s Cove. I even had the opportunity to sail on the Tui Tai, a vessel that I hadn’t experienced in many a year.
The visit has allowed me to inject some new life into Fijiguide. It also (happily) illustrated that the site’s members can inject a little life into Fiji.
One example that I’m particularly proud of is a coral restoration project on Taveuni, initiated by Fijiguide.com’s videographer, Scott Putnam.
So what exactly happened?
Essentially Scott gave Roberta Davis (at left), the owner of Makaira Resort, a lesson on how to transplant coral. This entails scooping up a broken piece of live coral and inserting it into a crevice in the coral garden. Roberta quickly learned the procedure and armed with this new skill set, began replanting the Cyclone Tomas-ravaged reef directly below her property piece by piece.
After two years of this work-intensive activity, her reef has rapidly regenerated. (We'll have photographic proof in a future blog. I did some snorkeling on the reef and could clearly see the "before" and "after" by comparing a the transplanted section with a reef that wasn't attended to).
In short, the rest of Taveuni’s reef system that hasn't benefited from her largesse will eventually come back. It will however, take a few years longer.
In future blogs Roberta (who grew up in Hawaii) will write a few articles that will describe in detail how to re-plant a coral reef. In the meantime others interested in following her footsteps should friend her on Fijiguide.com and ask questions.
It’s not just transplanted coral that can generate new life in Fiji.
In Nadi a couple of other Hawaii transplants are helping to publicize Fiji’s
newest tourist sector, Surf Tourism.
Stu and Malia Johnson (at left) are authors of Fiji Surf Blog and in case you haven't noticed are now regular surf bloggers for Fijiguide. As the resident photographer and a surf guide at Fijisurfco, Stu cares for guests and his action packed photos reach potential visitors around the world.
I did a series of three interviews with him on how to prepare for a Fiji surf trip, which I’ve turned into a page on the website called Planning Your Fiji Surf Trip.
So what does he do when he’s not on the job?
A very proficient speaker of Fijian, Stu labors over a another website (learntospeakfijian.weebly.com) dedicated to providing Fijian language lessons for free. It is the only website I've ever encountered where you can learn the Fijian language. Kudos Stu.
In our last newsletter, I gave a shout out to photographer Rory Merry, who chronicled Fiji back in 1987 with a large body of photographs that illustrated a number of cultural activities as well as portraits.
Fijiguide.com will be posting his work later this year to help identify the subjects in the photos. In the meantime you can get a preview of his collection here. (A sample of his work is at left).
Fijiguide will also be sponsoring an online seminar in March on social media for Fiji hotels and attractions. Essentially it will be a primer on how to use the Internet and sites like Fijiguide to market your entity. The seminar will be free of charge to any members. (Date to be named later!) Stuart Gow of Resort Support, a Suva-based company that provides tourism consulting, business development and marketing for Fiji companies will be leading the seminar. For information email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, if you’re a regular reader you no doubt noticed the new surf banner ads from Waterways Surf Adventures, a California based surf travel company and new sponsor. Fijiguide.com readers who use their services will get a free tee shirt and a Fijiguide.com e-book, my newly updated portable Fijiguide.
*Last but not least here are some of the people I’d like to thank for helping my trip go that much smoother: Liga Gukisuva (Vodafone), Donna and Brian McDonald (Matanivusi), Aaron McGrath (Sonaisali), Raymond Prasad (Tropicx Architecture), Forence Swamy, Fiji Audio Visual Commission, Joyce Camillo (Holiday Inn Suva), Deb Pekarcik (Beq Lagoon Resort), Stewart Gow & Helen Sykes (Matava), Chris & Sarah (Lalati), Roberta Davis & John Llanes (Makaira), Do Cammick (Taveuni Island Resort), Geoff Taylor (Copra Shed Marina), Lorna and Tim Eden (Savusavu Hotsprings Hotel), Tige Young (Tui Tai), Jim & Julie Smelser (Palmlea), Roger Morris (Wailoaloa Beach Resort) and Florence Kwong (Smuggler’s Cove)
Photos: Young resident of Lavena, Taveuni, Roberta Davis, Stu & Malia Johnson, Fijian couple (Rory Merry photo), Sarah & Chris, Managers at Lalati