Fiji Volunteer Journey: Island Spirit Joins Forces with The Honor Fiji Journey

Fiji Volunteer Journey: Island Spirit Joins Forces with The Honor Fiji Journey

Conservation Volunteer Tour on Fiji's Garden Island

Kirsty BarnbyIsland Spirit and The Honor Fiji Journey will be working in partnership to facilitate the Taveuni leg of the three-stop tall ship Volunteering journey around Fiji. Eights weeks will be spent travelling around Fiji on the Alvei and two of those will be spent on Taveuni locally known as 'Garden Island' at the beginning of July.


Island Spirit provide tailored eco holidays in Fiji combining island adventure, reef volunteering and true cultural immersion. They aim to give inspiring and fulfilling experiences through connecting guests with nature and engaging with local communities. 100% of profit generated goes back to the community and environmental initiatives in Taveuni. This partnership is a unique and one-off alliance which aims to promote conservation and tradition in Fiji.


The Honor Fiji Journey promotes stewardship of our mother ocean and joins the vision of the Pacific Renaissance to revive and preserve Indigenous life ways and our rich maritime traditions. A strong focus is on the youth, empowering them as keepers of their traditions, to participate in the movement for sustainability and positive change in the global arena, and to reach their highest potential.


"We believe we can help conserve the local environment and provide a steady income for local tourism businesses while inspiring people to make a positive difference throughout their lives by introducing them to conservation in the rich Fijian culture." - Kirsty Barnby, founder, Island Spirit

The Honor Fiji Journey - Youth Regaining and Protecting Their Identities

Fish HouseThe central project of 2012 is an 8-week Honor Fiji Journey aboard the Alvei, a Main T’ gallent Schooner to various remote locations throughout our island nation. Both Fijian and International youth will dedicate themselves to stewardship training and service projects in honor of the great Cultural Legacy of Fiji while promoting community ecological initiatives for our land and water. His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is the Patron of Honor Fiji.


The following are some of the tasks that Honor Fiji Journey volunteers will work on during their Taveuni stop at the beginning of July:

  • Fish Houses: Our fish houses are made from concrete and are placed into the sea in strategic locations. The aim is to provide housing a shelter for fish life and even provide a firm base to grow coral. These structures are often about 3/4 of a meter in diameter and look like donuts placed on top of each other. They are really heavy so provide protection against coastal erosion as well as for fish.
  • Coral Gardening: This is an effective and fun conservation method, and locally it has proven to work very well. Snorkel equipment, gloves and reef shoes are required to collect live (but broken) coral from the sandy seabed. Once collected and placed in a kayak or similar floating device it is transplanted in secure rock crevices and cracks. It is essential to find areas which the coral root can be plugged firmly into as it can take months for it to take root and the smallest swell can dislodge it. It has been noted that a coral will 'take hold' in as little as a month and if planted well will have a 90% success rate. As it develops the fish populations start to increase and the whole ocean cycle is enriched.
  • Mangrove Planting: Many think of mangroves as insect-ridden areas hardly worth saving. As a result, mangrove areas are sometimes used as rubbish dumps or their trees are cut down and the land filled in for housing or other development. This destruction is usually called reclamation – the claiming back of useless wasteland. But mangroves are certainly not wasteland! About 10 tonnes of mangrove leaves are produced each year by one hectare of mangrove trees (about four tonnes per acre). The decaying leaves and detritus form a constant supply of food for crabs, prawns and some fish. Many large fish live in, or visit, the mangroves to feed on these smaller creatures. Much valuable organic material is "exported" to other areas such as nearby seagrass beds and coral reefs. Mangroves form an underground network of roots which hold the earth together and prevent it from being washed away. Above the ground the roots act like a comb by trapping particles and sediment. In these ways mangroves build up and extend shorelines.

Coral Reef Conservation

Below are a few points to illustrate the importance of coral reef conservation:

  • For generations coastal communities have depended on coral reefs to supply their primary food source.
  • Increasing populations in developing countries within which coral reefs often occur, has led to the need for coastal communities to learn about sustainable resource management to ensure the continuation of future harvests.
  • Billions of dollars are spent each year on recreational fishing trips, hotels, restaurants, and diving tours near reef ecosystems creating livelihoods for an enormous number of people worldwide.
  • Reefs are a natural barrier against waves, storm surge and floods.
  • There are more species per unit area of coral reef than in any other ecosystem.

Photos by Kirsty Barnby


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