Thank you all for your support in the restoration of the beautiful Sacred Island of Naitauba. It has been just over two months since the devastating cyclone Winston and a great deal has been accomplished. But there is a huge amount of work yet to be done.
Exactly two months to the day since Winston hit Naitauba, our main island cargo and passenger boat has completed engine tests and is ready to return to service. This ends the long frustrating process of restoring our main sea link to our primary air and sea terminals, forty miles north and west on the island of Taveuni, and will relieve the complex issues related to transport of staff, materials, and supplies to Naitauba. This was a process fraught with challenges to the last minute. Without cranes or heavy equipment and dealing with 17 inches of rain dumped on Naitauba in 15 hours, complicating the boat’s re-launching, our crew succeeded. Sea conditions permitting, the boat is scheduled to make its first voyage on Tuesday.
World leaders are finally are beginning to take immediate action to address climate change. We welcome the news that 175 U.N. members signed the Paris Climate Accord in New York.
A group of aerial surveyors arrived on Naitauba by seaplane to make topographical maps of Naitauba before the rich forest vegetation grows back. Their accurate maps made from data collected by drones will be essential for us to know exactly how high above sea level any planned development will need to be located. The surveyors met the challenges of Naitauba’s unique features and their work is invaluable for our master planning and new construction work. What’s more, apart from travel costs, they contributed their services free as a humanitarian gesture.
On their way home, they were treated to an overnight stay at the Taveuni Island Resort. The crew felt they had fully experienced Fiji: they had witnessed the results of Winston’s apocalyptic assault on Naitauba and they enjoyed the untouched beauty and majesty of the South Pacific on Taveuni.
We are grateful to everyone for their generous support of Buren Tarawa. As you recall, Buren, one of our Fijian crew, was severely injured in the work to refloat our passenger boat. He and his family repeatedly express how deeply grateful and amazed they are for everyone’s generous assistance. He has begun outpatient visits to Suva Private Hospital three times a week to change his bandages and for physical therapy. Considering the trauma he and his family have experienced, he is in very good spirits. Housing has been secured for him and he is surrounded by his family. In the midst of and for some time after his accident, Buren was afraid that he would not make it. Now with our cooperative and collective assistance, he will.