OceansWatch, established in 2007 by a group of sailors and environmentalists, saw an opportunity for people who were sailing the world's oceans to give something back to the islanders whose homes and reefs they visited. Since then they have been working to achieve this and this is their latest report:
OceansWatch - giving something back
The donated yacht Cat Knapp that has been doing conservation work in Vanuatu with Glenn Edney has finished for the season and the team on Magic Roundabout in the Solomon Islands are due to start the sail back to New Zealand on the 11th October.
The team on Anna Rose has just returned from a week in Vanikoro and will shortly go back to the Reef Islands.
Our new yacht Anna Rose is now sailing back to the Reef Islands to install the Solar Panels in the newly, constructed Resource centre which will house a charge point for mobile phones, a chargeservice for the VHF radio service for the local banana boats safety program, a kitchen for the production of coconut oil which will be able to have electric scrapers and a place for the marine environment education material.
This is an exciting project made possible by a local villager Ezekial Nodua who has donated the land and his family with many helpers are currently building the centre.
The Reef in the large lagoon adjacent to the Reef Islands now has many customary markers.
The photo on the left shows John in Mola'a as he draws a plan of his community and their resources and customary fishing area. The community of Malubu held the traditional feast (photo above) that acknowledges the declaration of a Tabu (no fishing area) in the traditional way.
This involved making a special pudding with breadfruit and coconut, a traditional dance and the placing of seven traditional markers on the reef.
In Vanikoro they have very different landscape and issues compared to the Reef Islands. There is less fishing pressure so now is a good time to help them manage their resources.
We gave the local school in Buma some books and gifts and gave them a talk on coral reef conservation and showed a conservation film, they were very enthusiastic.
For more information about OceansWatch, to volunteer your services - or a sailing boat - go to their website