In love with the ocean

Vonijese Ravono inside the Dive Fiji bure at Oneta Resort on Kadavu. Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU

SINCE his first dive when he was nine years old Vonijese Ravono has been in love with the ocean.

Now aged 38 years, the Daku villager says not a single day is he bored to go out to sea.

“Every time my body touches the water I feel very happy,” said Mr Ravono.

“I have been diving since I was a young boy back in my village, and this is something I love,” he said.

Educated at Vunisei District School on Kadavu, Mr Ravono furthered his secondary education at the then Jai Narayan College, before moving to Lelean Memorial School and then finishing at Kadavu Provincial Secondary School.

“After school, I went back to the village and continued diving and farming. “Then, I was asked to take a masi to someone at Papageno Resort. I was conversing with the workers when the owner asked me to work there. I was surprised as I did not have any background at all working in a resort,” he said.

Papageno Resort is located next to his village in the district of Naceva on the island of Kadavu.

He started at the bar, but his love for the ocean kept drawing him back.

“On October 11, 2004, I was a certified PADI diver and had my first dive. Two years later on June 26, I was a licensed Master Diver,” added Mr Ravono.

He worked for Papageno Resort for 10 years before going to Denarau in Nadi and then returning to Kadavu only this time to join Oneta Resort on the island of Ono.

For Mr Ravono, the ocean is his life and he believes in the protection of the marine ecosystem.

“I believe if you look after the ocean, the ocean will look after you. “Whenever I go out diving with tourists I always remind them not to touch anything, even their flippers.

Leave things as they are, because we don’t know what touching them can do. “Already we have had dive spots destroyed by Cyclone Keni, so we want to protect what we have now.”

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