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The Fiji Story

1956 - My First Time in Fiji

My family and I were on an immigrant boat that came out of Southhampton, England but stopped on the West Coast of the US. The air conditioning had broken down when we crossed the equator heading to Fiji. It was so hot that we had to sleep on the deck. My mother tied me with rope to her deck chair so I wouldn’t go overboard in the night. I was one years old. My mother, a New Zealander, had lived and taught school in Fiji for 10 years. She loved it and her enthusiasm for Fiji and the Fijians was infectious. The Fijian people are the nicest people on the planet.

1962 - Again to Fiji

We stopped in Fiji this time on an immigrant boat heading to Sydney, Australia. We met many of my mother’s friends from when she lived there. They took us on a tour of the Viti Levu, the main island. We loved the open markets of Suva and  its bustling waterfront.

1969 - I Had Started Surfing

We were on an another immigrant boat, this time heading for Auckland, New Zealand. As we sailed through the reef pass into Suva there was a perfect wave breaking on the reef that was mesmerizing. I told myself that one day I would come back and surf this amazing wave.

1980 - Surfer Magazine

My friend and I were commissioned by Surfer Magazine to find the perfect wave in the South Pacific. We had a tip from a sailor that Fiji had the perfect wave. We found it off an idyllic atoll with a golden sand beach. There were coconut trees and millions of hermit crabs, turtles came up the beach and laid their eggs. We built a makeshift hut out of driftwood and lived there for weeks, like Robinson Crusoe.

1994 - Flew to Fiji

A friend and I flew to Fiji, borrowed a boat and surfed the wave I had seen as a teenager. There were no other surfers. A good friend, Bob Gillett, had lived in the area for 20 years and I asked if there was any land for sale near his house. Yes, the land next to his was for sale, but the owner had disappeared. It took 8 months to find him and finalize the sale. The Fijians living at Bob’s house had grown taro on this land for many years. We planted perimeter trees for privacy but Cyclones knocked some of them down later.

2020 - Hope to Build

It is my hope to build a small house on this land. I will hire the local Fijians from the village to help me build. The house will have a beautiful view of Suva (the surf spot I first saw as a teenager), sunsets over the South Pacific and exotic islands in the distance.

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