Engineers and workers arrived on Dravuni on 17 May 2010 to install the new pontoon, co-funded by Carnival Cruises, the Fiji Government and Yavusa Natusara (Dravuni and Buliya Islands). Carnival Cruises and the Fiji Government are the principal funders. However, to facilitate early realization of this project to boost the tourism industry on Dravuni, Carnival Cruises stepped in to provide bridging finance. DDC, on behalf of the Yavusa Natusara, is eternally grateful to Carnival Cruises.
Fourteen engineers and workers from Australia and Viti Levu came to Dravuni and they were supported by 20 men from Dravuni and Buliya. The visitors were accommodated in the dormitory of the USP-funded Dravuni Research Centre on the island. DDC is most appreciative to the USP management for its support. Cooking arrangement was shared between the visitors and the villagers. But the lion’s share of the cooking was done by the visitors’ own chef.
Another 10-12 villagers were trained during the installation period on the R&M, upkeep and protection of the pontoon. They were also trained on the assembling and disassembling of the various modules comprising the pontoon. The latter will become necessary if storms and rough seas are expected.
The new pontoon will open a new chapter in the tourism industry on the island. More ships will be expected to call in and more services for the tourists are also being planned between Carnival Cruises and the Yavusa Natusara.
The pontoon will be tested over a space of two or three arrivals of tourist ships before a grand opening is performed. Guests from Carnival Cruises Australia, its Fiji agents (Pacific Agencies Fiji Ltd) and the Fiji Government are expected for this happy occasion.