From Fiji Sun Online (February 2017)

Antonio's Night Trips To Rotuma Kindles Dream

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka

Days and nights travelling by sea back to Rotuma for his school holidays sparked his dream to be a sea captain one day.

Elijah Antonio from Noatau, Rotuma is currently a chief officer at the Malolo Island Resort owned vessel the Tahiti Tanui.

"I did not finish my studies at Fiji National University as I was offered a job in a carrier bulk, Neptune," Mr Antonio said.

"I was only 19 when I went on a Singaporean vessel and at I sailed to many of the Pacific Island countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia," he said.

"The smell of the sea is refreshing, I guess being from the islands, sea is very much part of my life.

"I was born in Suva, and to travel to Rotuma for your school break makes you spend three nights at sea watching stars, seeing the change in currents, the colour of the sea, flying fishes – that was where it all started for me."

After passing his Form Six external exams in 2004 at Marist Brothers High School Mr Antonio, 33, enrolled as a cadet at Fiji National University (FNU) Maritime School at Laucala.

"I would be at sea for three months and be back in Fiji for a week," he said.

He had worked with a Singapore vessel from 2001 to 2002 and then three years with Goundar Shipping Limited.

The father of three hopes to pursue further studies at the Maritime School soon, as he wants to be a ship captain.

"I am planning to return to school to further pursue my studies as a captain," he said.

"I want to show my three daughters that you are never too late to achieve your goals and always dream high," he said.

Mr Antonio has advised those planning to be a sailor to never give up with their dreams.

"Never give up and be confident in what you do," he said.

"There may be tough times, but the difficulties you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and win regardless.

Mr Antonio admits that the love, support and prayers from his family are sources of his strength and contribute these to his achievements so far.

"Family is important, for seamen especially when you are out at sea and away from home for three months it is important that we remain faithful to our families," he said.

"They are doing their part we need to also play our part."

Elijah & Friend