Map of Fiji

Map of Fiji

Sunday, June 26, 2016

S/V Perry Helps Build New Skiffs

One of the projects we've done over the past 3 days is to build a little 12 foot skiff for a village that lost all if its boats in the cyclone. It's not fancy, but it will get them back out to the reef to catch fish, which is pretty much the sole source of protein for the village. Conrad helped out too, but was eventually kidnapped to play with the village kids. 
Mark from Amelie IV found a simple design online, using only 3 sheets of plywood and a few pieces of common dimensional lumber. The design didn't call for it, but we decided to strengthen things by fiberglassing the edges and keel. At the end we ran out of brushes, so resorted to smearing the resin over the fiberglass by hand (creating the unsightly drips).
Total materials cost to build it: about $200 dollars.

Building it on site with the village looking forward to the finished product: priceless.

You can read more about the experiences of SV Perry on their blog.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Recovery Fleet Activity Is Ramping Up in Fiji and the Needs Are Great!

The Sea Mercy Recovery Fleet arrived in Vanua Balavu at the end of May and vessels were assigned specific islands and villages to deliver aid and perform needs assessments.

Marie Dufour on DOMINO has done an amazing job in documenting the conditions and needs in the villages they visited on her blog, DOMINO 20 . The links to these posts are listed below. (Click on the picture captions for the link)

She has many incredible stories that highlight the tenacity of the Fijian people and the reality they face after the fury of Winston.

Sea Mercy Arrives In Loma Loma

Vanua Balavu: One Village At a Time

Vanua Balavu: One Step At a Time

Sea Mercy: One Water Tank At a Time

Sea Mercy: One Garden At aTime

Sea Mercy: Seeds of Hope in Boitaci

Sea Mercy: Avea Island Garden

Sea Mercy: Suisui Women Garden Club

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Progress on the Makogai School Project

Outsider in Makogai
Volunteers for the Makogai School Project  - June 5th
Ian and Wendy on "Outsider"  have been leading the efforts here on Makogai with a small fleet of Sea Mercy volunteer vessels and teams of international volunteers helping to rebuild the school. They have made much progress even before the landing craft arrived with additional supplies. Thank you Ian and Wendy for your awesome leadership and commitment!!

You can read a full description of the project and appreciate the scope of the work that needs to by done at Here are pictures of progress so far.

The first temporary school set up after Winston.

The first one blew down so a second one was set up.
School must end at noon because the tents are too hot.

The bathrooms are on the left, the primary grades were in the
building in the center and the secondary grades were on the right.
The foundation is all that is left of the secondary grade building.
All the books and supplies were ruined.
A distant view of the school grounds.
Before we start rebuilding the school, we must get water to the site.
Off-loading the water tank - pretty sure this was OSHA approved.

Getting the tank installed and water to the school from the
village was a morale booster - now, if we can just find the off switch.

Ian working with Fili, the village head man, to install the
watermaker over the brackish well.
The longboat is the Fijian workhorse and the men and women
driving them are brave beyond belief! They helped us deliver some
of our First Response supplies.
Offloading the long boats....

While they are waiting for the landing craft to bring supplies, volunteers and children from the school repaint the bathrooms - the only building from the school to survive.
Eager volunteers :)
After. The Bob Marley color scheme was not requested
but the bright colors were perfect for morale.

As the painting continued, more children arrive
from the village and then joined in.
Clearing the wood, glass, nails and destroyed books
from the building site.

One section cleared and ready for rebuilding.

Another section almost cleared with the help of a little friend :)

Cleaning cinder blocks for reuse.

Repairing and using what you have.

The winds of this Category 5 cyclone reached speeds of over 200 mph and Makogai was directly in the path of the storm. The devastation can be seen all over the island.
In the village, homes were destroyed.

The government fishery where they had a turtle
farm was also destroyed.
The power of +200 mph winds.....
The people were traumatized by the storm
 but the children are starting to recover from the event.

The start of something beautiful.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Maiden Voyage of the Landing Craft "Sea Mercy" : Nadi to Makogai to Batiki

The trip delivering the Landing Craft and supplies from Nadi to Makogai Island was an adventure to say the least. Some incredible sights going around the northern part of Viti Levu and into the Lomaiviti area. 
The Landing Craft "Sea Mercy" brought all of us safely to Makogai into the welcoming arms (and bunks) of the Sea Mercy fleet stationed in Makogai. Our sincere thanks for the support and love shown by the captains and crew there and for Captain Geoff for delivering us.
There was something special about motoring into a remote island lagoon and seeing six vessels flying Sea Mercy flags from their masts.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cicia Island, Fiji: Children in Need

Written by Catherine Kimber, SV The Southern Cross

On this island, there are seventeen children under the age of five, who suffer from malnutrition, said Lepani, the nurse practitioner on Cicia Island. My husband, Peter, and I on board our boat "The Southern Cross" were visiting this remote island in the Northern Lau Group of Fiji. We were collecting information regarding the impact of Cyclone Winston, under the umbrella of Sea Mercy, along with the crew of two other vessels. Cicia Island is home to 1,100 people. Food crops, both above and below ground, as well as their cash crop, copra, were destroyed. There is no money coming in without copra to sell and there is not enough food to last them until their newly planted crops start producing.

One of the babies who is severely malnourished has a particularly sad story, continued Lepani. The babys father was killed last week by a wild boar when he was out hunting for food for his family.

The following day, Peter and I, along with Matt from the sailing vessel "Perry", visited two other villages. We were transported by truck along the islands perimeter track. Our driver, Singa, showed us photographs of the wild boars victim. You can see he lost a lot of blood. "The wild pigs tusk got him here", he said indicating his groin and femoral artery. "We heard that this man was late home, so we went out searching for him but it was too dark, so we had to wait 'til the next morning. That's where we found him", said Singa pointing across the valley. "When men go out hunting they take their dogs with them. That's how we able to find him - his dog was still standing guard." Did he have a gun? asked Peter. "No, only a knife." How old was he? I asked. "Only 28", said Singa shaking his head. Only 28 and two young children.

Before we reached the village of Lomoji, Singa stopped the car. This is where the young man was buried five days ago. Singa pointed to a highly decorated grave which sat nestled beneath cyclone ravaged pines.

Through the kindness and generosity of strangers, Sea Mercy is assisting the people of Fiji, including the community in which this dead mans two little children live. People living on islands ravaged by Cyclone Winston need help to obtain proper nutrition until they can recover from this disaster.

What has been done already: Thanks to donations provided to Sea Mercy, we were able to deliver cans of food, bags of rice and building materials to the peoples of Cicia Island. Other Sea Mercy volunteer sailing vessels have delivered aid across the Northern Lau region, again thanks to donations to Sea Mercy.

What is Most Needed in the Lau Group, Fiji: 

  • Access to clean drinking water 
  • Enough food (including baby formula)  to sustain the people over the next several months until their crops regenerate.
  • Building and farming supplies and equipment 


Even now, almost 4 months after Winston devastated Fiji, we are seeing many people in the remote islands still in desperate need of help. They lost their homes, fresh water storage, food source and their income all in one storm. The people of Fiji are incredibly resilient and independent but have suffered such a severe loss that they will need help from others to be able to rebuild their lives.

The Sea Bridge for Fiji page on the Sea Mercy's website describes the recovery plan in detail as well as how you can help. Please read about our plans to help Fiji recover and find a way you can help them get back on their feet.

Construction In Naigani Village on Batiki Is Going Fantastic! by Kelli Vidiuk

<via Facebook: Sea Mercy Fiji - Cyclone Winston>
Construction in Naigani is going fantastic! Building materials have arrived and everyone in the village has been working extra hard.

We have completed the draining, cleaning and reconstruction of the well allowing Naigani to have fresh clean water to bath in. 

Two new roofing structures have been built and a third will be completed tomorrow, thanks to the donation of timbers and roofing tin.

A temporary shower and shower room has been constructed and hung up, thanks to some ingenious ideas!!

Everyone is constantly working to clear debris. It's being broken up, buried and forgot about and Naigani is starting to look like a village again.
With the arrival of the Sea Mercy barge on Tuesday, the water maker has been going strong all day and pumping fresh water into the village. So far filling one 10,000 Liter tank!

Roofs and water have been the main focus and slowly the villagers are moving back into Naigani. It's outstanding how much everyone here has accomplished!