Stories from the Blue: Fautasi
"The ocean, the land, the forest – everything goes hand-in-hand. That's what we like to pass on to our kids in the younger generations. To maintain our identity, that's the most important thing to us." Fu'ega Sa'ite Moliga captains a longboat for the annual fautasi races in National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Learn about the fautasi, and why Moliga dedicates himself to this crew, in our Story from the Blue.
Strength doesn't matter to me but the skills of the rowers, and that's very important.
Everything has to be in perfect order for this boat to glide.
One mistake by one oarsman would stop the boat.
My name is Fu'ega Sa'ite Moliga and I'm the captain for the Fautasi Matasaua for the Manu'a District, representing Ofu, Olosega, Ta'u islands.
This boat right here, this is the longest of all the fautasi in American Samoa.
As you can see maybe this evening, there's about 14, 13 fautasi will be in the water, getting prepared for Flag Day.
The pride of the village and every young man on this island is on this boat.
Especially from our islands Manu'a.
And we represent every single soul in Manu'a.
It's a sport that we love to do.
See how long the boat is?
It's very difficult for me to stand in the back there trying to tell the guy up in the front what to do.
And the only way to do that is by listening to the whistle.
I served in the U.S. Air Force for eight years and I was fortunate enough to be selected by my district to do the training for the fautasi and also be the leader of the boat.
Training the crew not only on land but also on the water with the fautasi.
It's not an easy thing to do.
The Flag Day is in April but usually we start training from December, 3 o'clock in the morning, start training, and then got off maybe 6 o'clock in the morning then 4 p.m. on the water and that's the our daily routine.
I grew up in the water in the ocean and that's why I have a lot of respect for this.
With the fautasi, it's the same spirit.
There's a lot to it, taking 50 young men on a longboat and take them out there for a ride.
There's a reason why we do that.
Not only showing that we belong to the ocean, you have the courage to lead your young men of your village.
We don't just go out on the water just for fun.
I'm glad I grew up when I was young
I'm 66 years old right now and I still have that heart for the culture and, you know, the ocean, the land, the forest.
You know, everything goes hand-in-hand.
That's what we like to pass on to our kids in the younger generations.
To maintain our identity, that's the most important thing to us.