Expedition to Koro Island in April 2012
Froseann Stevens' journal
6th April, 2012
Arrived on Koro Island early in the morning. Princess Lomaiviti docked at Koro Island Jetty around 5.25 am. Boarded 6-tonne truck to Nabuna village. The island was lush in vegetation and relatively undisturbed, except for taro, pandanus and kava plantations. The route we took to the village went deep into the interior of Koro Island. Nabuna village is quiet and welcoming, with villagers smiling and waving at us. We were given a house near the sea to stay at. View was amazing overlooking the vast sea and edges of the island visible on both sides. Showered, slept a little, then did sevusevu to the mataqali and sevusevu to Turaga-ni-koro. Good Friday so everyone in the village observed it as a Sunday. Attended church service after around 2pm. Spring water serviced the village, so no water cuts, which was wonderful.
7th April, 2012
6.30 am woke up. Fresh morning breeze, lovely. Had breakfast with Akisi, Bai, Alfred and Fey. Around quarter to eight, left Nabuna village by van to the forest. Tracked 15 minutes down to a creek where we picked ‘ota and rourou which grew wild. Place was marshy and forest relatively undisturbed. Hiked back up for about 10 minutes on a different route to the road. Rested for about 15 minutes, and then tracked down again to the waterfall. Took about half an hour. Place was steeply elevated with marshy floor. Waterfall runs over rocks at about 8m in height. Water was cold and refreshing. Enjoyed the scenery overlooking the waterfall, forest was a dense green with birds calling. Had lunch at the waterfall then hiked back up for over half an hour. Was exhausted but glad I found the shell of the rare snail, Placostylus koroensis that’s endemic to the island. Alifereti Laidubadei found the second shell of the placostylid. Got on the van back to Nabuna village. Showered then went to visit the primary school next to the village. Group did mini presentation on the environment –threats and remedies. Villagers and students were very receptive and aware of the environmental impacts of pollution, deforestation and harmful methods of farming. Afterwards, came back to the village for dinner with the mataqali around 5pm. The food was delicious; we had taro, cassava, rourou (nicknamed “everyday” because villagers have rourou everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinnerJ) and lairo (sand crab). Had kava around 8pm with villagers until 10.30pm when I had had enough for the day. All beat but worth it.
8th April, 2012
Sunday morning, woke up around 7.35am. Had tea with the mataqali, and then walked around taking pictures of the village. It’s a day of rest, so everyone was in a relaxing mood including us. Had a chat with the villagers while they prepared the lovo and ‘ota. It’s a pity I understood only a little of Fijian as we joked around with Fey and the men and women. Lunch was around 12 noon. We had lovo pork, rourou and boiled fish with bele. Around 2pm we caught the truck to Akisi’s aunt Penina’s house two villages away from Nabuna. Over 45min drive. Penina had a lovely house with European interior and utilities. Had dinner then headed back to Nabuna around 4.30pm. Showered then had grog with the villages about 8pm. Slept around 11pm when grog session finished. Went to bed grog doped J.
9th April, 2012
Monday morning, reluctant to wake up around 8.15am. Got ready to go to Matana (the eye in Fijian). Arrived near the island resort where we were to snorkel for giant clams grown by a villager there with his European wife. Water was nice and cold and exhibits a variety of colorful fish like butterfly fish, etc. Around 9.45am, we went further ahead of the resort seafront for the sea-grass survey. Sea grass was abundant there, about 5 types. Sand was muddy and plenty of organic letter (leaf, wood). We were divided into 3 groups. Went with Fey’s group towards the right side of the beach. Did three transects at ~100m apart. At each 5m from the beach (water-edge) towards the reef placed 10 quadrats along the transects and recorded all the species inside the quadrats. Finished survey at around 11.50 noon. Had lunch on the beach, rourou, corned beef, smoked fish, coconuts and taro. Headed back around 3.40pm to the village. Showered then got ready to leave to the next village where we were to catch truck to the jetty. Enjoyed the overall experience on Koro Island. The villagers were very friendly and kind. We felt right at home during our Easter weekend there. Wouldn’t mind going back there again. Missed the villagers especially the little kids.
Rupeti Vafo'ous Journal
It was a cloudy Thursday afternoon as we stood waiting at Narain Jetty ready to board the “Lomaiviti Princess” on our way to Koro Island.Even before we got to Koro Island I knew that this trip would be adventureous and it happened to be true. I was accompanying five other ambitious people on this Laje Rotuma Initiative trip to Koro Island.
Led by Alfred Ralifo and Akisi Bolabola, Froseann Stevens, Apolosa Robaigau, Akanisi Lomaloma and I could not wait to see and experience what Koro Island had to offer. The sun was stretching out its rays on the horizon as we birthed at ‘Mudu point’ on Friday morning getting on the truck. Straight away we headed to Nabuna village, our home for the next three days.
Saturday came and we were all ready to start the day. Our first stop was at “Loga Ota” where we collected “ota” for our lunch the next day .We also found fossils of the snail “Koroensis” endemic to Koro Island and was last spotted in 1980. We later headed to “Wailevu” to check out the most beautiful waterfall. We made it just in time to “Vunivasa Primary School to speak to the youths camping there on resource conservation and sustainability.
Well Sunday was relaxing as we toured “Nabuna” village and Sunday lunch was just too good. We were invited by Mrs. Penina Namata for dinner at “Sinuvaca” Village.
Monday was exciting as we woke up early to leave for “Dere” bayto see the giant clams. Our guides, Uncle freddy and Tukali pointed out spots where mangroves were cleared FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF “Dere Bay Resort”. Later on we came across the turtle nesting spot “Nola” point at “Nukubalavu”. We arrived at Namatana point and did our sea grass survey. After lunch we headed back to “Vale-i-ra” where we stayed to start packing. Before we knew it, emotional good byes could be heard as we headed back to Mudu point to board the Lomaiviti Princess with a course set to Suva.I would like to thank everyone in Nabuna Village for the great hospitality that we experienced whilst there and I believe LajeRotuma Initiative will work together with them to help sustain and preserve their beautiful and unique natural resources.