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A cool Fiji pirate

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, February 18, 2013

HE is referred to as Captain Jack and immediately the face of the quirky, mascara-wearing pirate came to mind.

And while Captain Josh Ratukuna may not be the sword-wielding, British-accented Sparrow, you might say he has the irresistible charm and swagger of Johnny Depp, the handsome actor who is loved the world over.

Also, if you think our Captain Jack has not sailed the seven seas hunting for immortality and hidden treasure — he can assure you that he does rule one body of water, the Sigatoka River.

Josh is the senior jet boat captain with the popular Sigatoka River Safari, the company that provides village tours along the Sigatoka River for international guests with the added thrill of an adrenaline rush thrown into the mix.

His uniform is a standard red shirt and shorts, with a life jacket, sunglass and a bandana as accessories. A cool Fijian pirate, that's what he is.

Josh has logged more than a thousand hours of sailing time while ferrying tourists through the winding maze that is the Sigatoka River while at the same time providing them with the best informed tour of the different villages that are situated along the river.

His dedication to his work and guests has made him famous among visitors who sign up for the Sigatoka River Safari and he has easily established relationships that have turned into long lasting friendships.

It is for these very reason that he has been nominated — for the third time — in the Frontliner category at the 2012 AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards next week.

Josh says the nomination was an honour for him as he sees it as recognition of his hard work from his employers and the tourism industry.

"All we can do is work hard and do our best for our visitors who come to enjoy what our country has to offer. And if our work is recognised for that purpose then it is a positive response to those that work hard to ensure that guests are happy when they visit us," he added.

"They sometimes come with all of the stress they experience in every day life but once they come to our shores, they should immediately feel happy to be here and feel at home. That is something that we constantly work hard towards."

The 35-year-old Navuevu villager was the first staff member hired by the company when it started operations almost six years ago and has seen it grow to the popular tourist attractions on offer in the Western Division.

He said his work has allowed him to meet new people every day and gave him an opportunity to show off his home town to international visitors.

Looking to the future, Captain Jack says he plans on committing to what he does best.

"I will do this till the day I die."

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