SHE studied to be a teacher but never stepped into a classroom as one.
Now Agnes Sokosoko, 27, wants to become one and open the minds of the young to a world she is a champion of.
Born into a family of sailors, Agnes loved the outdoors.
It inspired her paintings and her life. She played basketball from an early age in Raiwaqa, Suva, and was a good track athelete.
Being the only girl and the youngest in a family of two brothers who played basketball like mum Lydia Sokosoko, who represented Fiji at the 1990 South Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea, she followed in their footsteps and played in national colours in 2004 as an under-20 and won gold at the Mini South Pacific Games in Palau a year later.
In 2007, she was part of the team that won gold in Samoa and played in the Olympic qualifiers against Australia and New Zealand in 2008.
After graduating from the Fiji Institute of Technology in 2008 specialising in physical education and visual arts, she started a neighbourhood class at Bryce Street, Raiwaqa's cement street along which some of the suburb's top basketballers grew. Her mission was to give school dropouts a chance.
But teaching them abstract art while coaching them on the court, Agnes still found herself restless for something else.
She longed for the vastness of the ocean that the men in her family sailed.
"I always wanted to get out of my comfort zone, which was athletics, and travel," she said. "I wanted to experience the different places and cultures of the world."
Three months after joining the Fiji Basketball Federation, Agness started training for the voyage that changed her life forever.
"I freaked out when they said I was going sailing. This was something that was always in my room, in my paintings, in the solitude of my colourful world."
Sailing put things into perspective for Agnes, who turned 26 in Fakrava and 27 in Rarotonga on the Te Mana O Te Moana voyage.
"The ocean has opened my mind to the exploitation and pollution humankind has inflicted on our most precious resource," she said. "We must respect the ocean for the survival of the world depends on it."
Having travelled through the Pacific along the route our forefathers took following the tradewinds, she has been able to link the cultures and languages of the region and prove to skeptics that the people of the Pacific were indeed superior ocean travellers and had a deep connection with the sea.
With the return home of the Uto ni Yalo, Agnes aims to reach out to children and inpire them about the deep blue and all its wonders.
This Ovalau sailor wants to change something in the minds of anyone who will listen.
"Teachers are usually underappreciated. Some even think that they're just a waste of time. I don't want to be waste of time.
"The ocean will help me do that."