The Fiji TimesBack in Historical past: Pen buddies meet finally


IMAGINE the enjoyment of assembly somebody who had been your pen pal for 22 years straight.

On February 9, 1983, The Fiji Occasions reported {that a} Canadian and Fijian met for the primary time in Suva — and the story they informed would have equaled the well-known Kon-Tiki expedition.

As a younger 18-year-old naval seaman, in 1959 Jerry Leake threw a rum bottle along with his handle in it into the North Pacific Ocean.

He was about three days out of Yokohoma, Japan.

It was discovered 7200km away at Viwa Island, close to Bau, by Akuila Matai on July 1961.

He made contact and since then the 2 males wrote to one another.

On February 8, 1983 they met on the Travelodge Lodge in Suva for the primary time.

Nobody would have mapped the trans-ocean journey of the bottle — the ships and islands it handed on its journey to the south.

Nobody would have additionally believed that such a sea occasion might have occurred.

But it surely did, and Jerry had saved the message he had put into the bottle to indicate non-believers, together with the tattered first letter from Akuila and different letters that had been handed between them.

“The percentages towards the bottle ever being discovered by somebody so distant was phenomenal,” stated Jerry.

On the time he threw the bottle into the ocean, he was on board the Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) New Glasgow and was steaming in the direction of Juneau, Alaska.

Ingesting on board the ship, Jerry scribbled his identify on a bit of corn flakes carton and put it within the bottle with little considered it ever being discovered. Nonetheless, 20-year-old Akuila was given the bottle by a girl, and he instantly wrote to the seaport handle in Victoria, Canada.

“Hallow Jerry! At the moment is Monday and a really good nice day,” was the opening sentence of the primary letter Jerry acquired.

It was dated July 17, 1961. Jerry, who was concerned within the development provide enterprise, was in a position to spare a number of weeks along with his spouse so that they determined to journey to see Akuila, who was a builder as effectively.

When he arrived in Fiji, he despatched a message to Akuila by way of Radio Fiji. Two days later they met and ready to go to Akuila’s dwelling on Viwa Island.

  • Compiled by Pekai Kotoisuva

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