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Ni Sa Bula,

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’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 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 ( 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. 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

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. readers who use their services will get a free tee shirt and a 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 

Views: 605

Comment by Daniel Leuck on February 16, 2012 at 2:17pm

Welcome back Rob! It sounds like an exciting trip. I love the photo at the top.

How are Roberta and John doing?

Comment by Robert F. Kay on February 16, 2012 at 2:43pm

Roberta and John are doing famously...I will have to give you the details when we get together. 

Comment by Robert F. Kay on February 16, 2012 at 2:49pm

Vinaka for your comments.  I really appreciate it.  

I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the coral gardens at Roberta's.  I look forward to hearing your report and seeing your photos.  Yes, she is a remarkable person.  

As it turns out I am having dinner with Stu and Malia this evening--they are here in Hawaii so I will personally relay your kudos. I have a hunch you will hear from him!  moce mada...

Comment by Appy on February 16, 2012 at 2:52pm

Thanks so much for the news, and for me personally, the update on Roberta's coral gardening! I will be there in just a few weeks and am so very anxious to see the new re-growth for myself. And while there working on the reef myself tiny piece by piece. Did you stay in the new Sea View Villa at Makaira? That's where I will be for 3 weeks. The pictures she has sent to me of it are lovely. The picture of Roberta you have posted above shows the beautiful soul she truely is! I also had found Stu's "learn to speak Fijian" website and appreciate that very much. It's been a true helper for me and I would recommend anyone going to Fiji to give it a go. Vinaka Robert for your latest blog info here. I enjoy reading all that you write

Comment by Patrick Brendan Fritzsche on February 16, 2012 at 4:01pm

Looking good, Rob! That's great about the coral restoration (can't wait to see the photos). Good luck for March's upcoming web seminar, and congrats on the site improvements!

Comment by Robert F. Kay on February 16, 2012 at 4:13pm

Mr. Fritzsche, always a pleasure to hear from you and even see you!  Vinaka for the kudos. Maybe time for you and the Mrs. to go back to Fiji!  (And the baby too)...

Comment by Collin McKenny on February 16, 2012 at 5:56pm

It was great to see you again, Rob ~ if only for a quick hello!

Comment by Robert F. Kay on February 16, 2012 at 6:28pm

Likewise Collin. It was really good that we had a chance to connect.  I even had a beer with Terry in Nadi! Best of luck with the property...

Comment by Diane Money on February 18, 2012 at 4:36am

Collin and Rob Kay together.....oh how I wish I could have been there.  The two people who keep me connected to the most beautiful place and people in the world.  Rob, did you go to Lomalagi?

Comment by Robert F. Kay on February 18, 2012 at 10:45am

Hi Diane, good to hear from you.  No I didn't have a chance to visit Lomalagi this time.  Was concentrating on places I hadn't yet seen. Collin and I met over at the Copra Shed Marina. Let's hear from you more often!


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