A MAN who lost his father and grandfather at sea has returned home on the Uto ni Yalo to break what his family believes is a curse.
Fulana Tuimoce , 22, of Korotolu Village, Moce Island, Lau, lost his father when he was just three and grandfather at 19 in the same circumstance at sea.
They were never found.
It was December, 1993, when Metuisela Biuvakaloloma defied the traditional taboo in the waters of the Tovata confederacy.
The body of the late President and Tui Cakau, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, was being transported to his chiefly village of Somosomo by a naval vessel and a taboo was being observed by the confederacy of which he was head.
Mr Tuimoce said his father defied traditional protocol and attempted to sail from Suva to Moce on a camakau (single-hulled canoe). He never reached Suva.
His canoe was found in Bulia, Kadavu, and his family declared him dead days later and conducted a memorial service.
Eleven years later, Jimone Paki met the same fate as his son. He sailed from Lau to Suva and disappeared.
"My grandfather died too. He loved to sail the drua (double-hulled canoe) and the camakau.
"He made his first trip in 1991 and thought he could do it again)," said Mr Tuimoce. "He was wrong. We believe my dad's actions brought a curse on us."
Mr Tuimoce said his father sealed his fate when he decided to saild into waters where a chiefly procession was coming.
"After my grandfather disappeared, no one else has attempted that journey from Moce since because they all fear what could happen."
After signing up with the Uto ni Yalo and travelling 50,000 kilometres, Mr Tuimoce is ready to take on the ocean on the deadly path his father and grandfather took from Lau to Suva.
"Sailing on the Uto ni Yalo has taught me so much. I've learnt to respect the sea more," he said.
"The sea gives, the sea takes. When you learn to respect your culture, your traditions and the ocean which is always part of us, only then can we learn to overcome our fears.
"The fear of loss, the fear of death, the fear of anything, we have to learn to overcome."
Mr Tuimoce said he and his siblings plan to make that voyage and pay tribute to the ocean that took away a part of them.
"The ocean is a life and we're part of it. Without it we are nothing. We have taken so much from the ocean and given back so little," he said.