18 Communicating from Oz with friends from the village is pretty tough. It was tricky keeping in touch with CLOUD BREAK PIC GLEN DUFFUS them but we seemed to manage with the odd call, text or even a Facebook message in recent times. We’ve been very lucky to have such a special bond with the beautiful people of Naselleselle. Working with the village primary school, we’re proud to have made a significant contribution for the kids supplying them with everything from pens to diesel for the generator. The first year we asked the school principal what the school needed. He said he’d write a list and I thought, ‘Hang on a bit - a list!’ The list that came back was humbling – soap, toilet paper, pens, pencils, paper, basics the school was lacking. Man, our group got behind this and we stocked that little school with as much as we could. People in Fiji, particularly in the outer areas, do live simple lives and they are happy, healthy and proud with modest homes, but it broke my heart when I visited Ducks’ house the first time. A 16’ x 12’ ... yep, 16 feet x 12 feet, corrugated where the original home used to stand before a cyclone in 2006 ripped it from the foundations. Now, six people live in a tin shanty with one bed, a dirt floor, a broken fridge as a seat, an open fire in the corner, some very old faded family photos on the wall and a tiny lean-to sheltering their possessions. Don showed me his son’s special bag - a backpack one of our guests had given him, padlocked and full of donations from our guests. Hats, sunglasses, tees, shorts, shoes, you name The day we left for home in 2014 I went back to the house to grab Don, but there had been a fire. Luckily he’d managed to get it under control but not before it melted the only spear gun, booties, mask and snorkel they had and the family’s only source of a regular feed of fish. Ducks is the fisherman in the family and at 14 it was normal for him to leave the house at 1am on the right tide and moon, swim a kilometre offshore with a dodgy torch and spear fish for a few hours. BEN WILSON What are your tips for travelling with kite gear? Always keep cool, nice and relaxed with the check in staff, this is key. As soon as you get angry/frustrated they will make it worse for you. All airlines are different, so know what the limits are on the airline that you’re travelling on. You can even pre-book bags these days for a great price. I always keep all my personal items and things I can’t live without in my backpack that stays with me no matter what. Funniest/worst travelling experience? I live my life by the fact you can’t have a bad time when you’re travelling if you always treat it as experience, no matter what the outcome is. Nothing ever goes to plan, so just embrace it no matter what. iron dwelling on the remnants of an old slab it. These were the Ducks’ prized possessions.
HE FLEW THAT KITE LIKE A PRO, ALL THE VILLAGE CHEERED FOR HIM AND HE SOON BECAME KING OF THE KIDS AND TALK OF THE TOWN. ERIC RIENSTRA How do you deal with an angry or unhelpful check in agent? I just try to be really nice and act excited. Sometimes your vibe can rub off on people. Ever been locked up? Not really but when I had dreadlocks I got pulled into special rooms for additional screening a lot. Never got the glove, thankfully! 19 Don took the fire in his stride and in relaxed fashion didn’t seem too concerned, but Ducks was devastated and I knew Don was too. The generosity of our guests always amazes me. Landing in Nadi after seeing Don and Ducks off we found a dive shop and bought the boys a bling set of booties, sick mask, snorkel and a shit-hot, you beaut spear gun! The airline knows us pretty well by now and the Captain happily took the gear on the next flight to surprise our friends. Every time we land on Taveuni we pick Ducks up first thing. He’s now got so good at kiting he casually rolls up after a year not even seeing a kite, hooks in and he’s off. This year he started jumping, doing back rolls, riding toeside, kiting to the reef, doing downwinders and rescuing other kiters. He has become a valuable part of the Moon Tours’ team. Every client we have had in Fiji knows him and now he’s our assistant guide to the area and we just love it. Ducks still has the trainer kite and teaches other kids how to fly. He is in high school now and doing exceptionally well as the head boy of his class. We are currently working on getting him out to Australia. That was part of the deal and he has stuck to his side, we’ve gotta at least, stick to ours! TOBY BROMWICH BEN WELSH “ON MY WAY BACK FROM DAKHLA, MOROCCO WE WERE FLYING OVER SOME MOUNTAINS AND THERE WAS SOME CRAZY TURBULENCE. I WAS ACTUALLY IN THE TOILET WHEN IT STARTED AND I REALLY NEEDED TO PEE. IT WAS HECTIC. PEOPLE SCREAMING, BAGS FALLING DOWN, MY MUM PRAYING AND ME PEEING ALL OVER THE BATHROOM. LUCKILY WE MADE IT! - LIAM WHALEY TOBY BROMWICH “TRY THIS IF YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE AIRPORT AND KNOW THAT YOU’LL BE CARRYING YOUR BOARD BAG TO THE OVERSIZED AREA YOURSELF. KEEP A STASH BAG WITH ALL OF YOUR HEAVY SHIT - FINS, HARDWARE, SPREADER BAR ETC. ONCE YOU GET THE BAG TAGGED GO AROUND THE CORNER AND JAM IT INTO YOUR BOARD BAG AND TOSS IT ON THE BELT AT OVERSIZED.” - SAM MEDYSKY