FRENCH explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau famously said that "the sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever".
For Lau native Opetaia 'Tuks' Tukai, who is living his dream of sailing a canoe 500km around Viti Levu, the phrase is fitting.
It is a dream he has harboured for a while.
And thanks to a friend who lent him a seven meter sailing canoe, it is the one that he is bringing to life.
Things were not always plain sailing for the young man from Oneata.
Tuks first left his island home of Oneata at a young age to attend secondary school in Suva and decided he wanted to work at sea, enrolling himself at the FNU School of Maritime Studies.
But with his parents in Oneata unable to meet the costs of his education, Tuks was forced to drop out.
He lost hope of getting his dream job out at sea and had to make ends meet by working as a security guard.
Things took a turn for the better when he got a job on board the prototype ocean going canoe Okeanos doing experimental runs to Gau, Kadavu, and Yasawa.
By the time the Okeanos left Fiji for Micronesia earlier this year, Tuks was fired up again to get a job at sea.
His trip around Viti Levu started two weeks ago with an easy sail to Beqa, followed by a fast exciting sailing down the Coral Coast.
From there, he went to Vuda Marina, past Ba to Nananu-i-Ra Island off Rakiraki.
Head winds are causing him to stop and rest for a bit, something he was able to do courtesy of a kind resort owner.
Bob Gillet, who assisted Tuks with his journey, said last week that when the winds turn favourable, Tuks would have three more days of travel to complete the circumnavigation of Viti Levu.