Journey back home

Man at the helm, drua skipper, Setareki Ledua. Picture: SUPPLIED

Monday, September 28 is very special.

It is a day when Setareki Ledua becomes one of the youngest captains to sail a traditional war canoe across Fiji waters.

The young man from Fulaga in Lau, will skipper the drua, I Vola Siga Vou, on a six-week journey starting from Vuda in Lautoka.

Titled “Na Lesu Tale”, the homecoming expedition includes stopovers in Viti Levu, Lomaiviti, Lau and Kadavu.

“I have skippered many trips on traditional sailing canoes before but this is unprecedented in the sense that a drua would be sailing to Lau again after many generations,” Ledua said.

The expedition hopes to collect data on sea navigation and traditional canoe construction and create awareness on sustainable sea transport among stopover communities.

All materials collected and documented in the journey will be used to develop training modules and literature for a planned school of traditional navigation and canoe building.

I Vola Siga Vou is a replica of the drua, Ratu Finau, a popular exhibit currently on show at the Fiji Museum.

During its heyday, the drua could carry up to 300 warriors and travel at maximum speeds of 17 knots.

Ledua said the journey would be a befitting tribute to his ancestors who built canoes and sailed in them across the Pacific Ocean, passing down their knowledge and skills to ensure the survival of future generations.

Homecoming sail plan showing stops, dates and expected time of arrival: Vuda (start 7am Sep 28); Vatia Wharf (7am Sep 29); Volivoli Beach Resort (7am Sep 30); Qoma (7am Oct 1); Leleuvia Island Resort (6am Oct 5); Koro (6am Oct 7); Kaibu (6am Oct 10); Vanuabalavu (7am Oct 15); Mago (7am Oct 19); Tuvuca (6am Oct 21); Lakeba (6am Oct 23); Kabara (6am Oct 27); Vulaga (8am Nov 5); Ogea (9am Nov 9); Matuku (1pm Nov 11); Kadavu (6am Nov 12); Suva (sail ends)

  • More in The Sunday Times next week

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