Uto Ni Yalo is home!
From the Uto ni Yalo just north of Buresala, Ovalau. We are home! What a feeling it has been. We lead our sister vakas into the anchorage after having the symbolic first welcome by babale [porpoises] who swam so close to the bow that we could almost touch them! The weather is clear and the wind is brisk. Each vaka has their traditional sails up and with the sun and Ovalau as their backdrop, the “medium” is indeed the “message”! We will spend tonight at the Patterson farm at Buresala. You know what that means? Yes……a night of telling many tales around the tanoa. Joe and Tuks will lead the way with the Uto crew not far behind!
My exceptional, enriching, enervating, enlightening, entertaining, and excellent journey is coming to a premature end. Initially I was granted the opportunity to follow through and voyage to the Solomons and return home before bidding a temporary adieu to my marine home. Alas that will not be, but not as a result of anything negative, in fact my next few months at home will be a labour of love as I am thrilled to be looking after my sweet six year old granddaughter Naudalyn! I am optimistic that through FIVS there will be other exciting journeys to come.
This article will be my vehicle of vinaka vaka levu. It will give me the opportunity before our welcoming ceremonies immerse us in our emotional homecoming to express my personal gratitude to all of you that took the time to live our journey with us through the 100+ articles Fiji Times was kind enough to publish. Or perhaps you followed us through our FIVS website. Whatever the case we have appreciated your interest and support.
While I will leave my five month home, our drua, in Suva the articles will carry on. I have no doubt that those who follow will give you fresh insights from an entirely new perspective. Very early in adult life I learned that everyone is replaceable and thus my ego will remain in tact even as I battle journalistic withdrawal symptoms! I will miss my Uto family as I reunite with my Delainavesi one! I could discern from the look on their faces in January at Nausori Airport that they were worried that “papa” would have bitten off more than he could chew! Fortunately I did not and I go home healthier and hopefully wiser than when I left. For sure with more photos [1300+]! AND so many memories of exotic and unique [has that word been trivialised?] experiences that people will hide when I’m around for fear my tales will consume them!
My thanks too goes to Colin Philp and FIVS for considering me a matua. Although at times I felt that the title gave me unearned respect and privileges! However now that I’ve sailed a few thousand miles I suspect I won’t look as much of a newbie as I did when I first put my feet on Uto’s rara in that San Diego marina.
How much more could I ask than to have a life time dream fulfilled? Visit the Galapagos – a biologist’s “mecca”. The place where Darwin had world shaking insights.The natural historian’s heaven. Giant tortoises so close I could smell their breath. Marine iguanas cavorting all along the rocky shore. Pelicans and seals begging for fish scraps at the market. My all time favourite now is that avian character they call the Blue footed Booby! To me that species of gannet represents all that is exceptional about the Galapagos even more so than the land iguanas, flightless cormorants……well maybe not too far away from the temperate penguin!
I started basically thinking about sailing and all aspects of marine science and ended up becoming an advocate for ocean conservation [could you see my articles evolving?]. My initial commitment dealt with personal challenges of someone more mature than the youthful crew coping with drua life and ended with my sensitivity toward people like myself who aren’t about to live down to the stereotype of advanced age meaning shawl, medication, restricted movement and others judging you by your wrinkles! I am happy to represent that “Act III” group that have one third of their lives left – assuming each act = 30 years! The once in a lifetime journey is all but over. However it has been the catalyst for our age group to say that once completed another journey is just around the next bahia [bay]. Stay tuned then for the next installment, it might be sooner than you think.
I am and always was Bob Tuxson, your blog writer through hackneyed phrases, tedious tenses and repetitive philosophies, oftimes lengthy diatribes that either beckoned Morpheus or produced severe ennui. If amidst the chaff you can found some wheat I am relieved and thankful that we may have connected on some issues. It’s the question, not the answer that makes all the difference in life. I would much rather be marooned with a questioner than an answerer, if that makes sense! Your attention, indulgence and support has indeed been appreciated. Never forget………tabu soro and the Uto ni Yalo has yet to find her beach. Bless all of you.