The Samoa Voyaging Socety (SVS) works to promote positive Samoan cultural values, respect for the ocean and nature, individual and social responsibility, discipline and integrity.

The SVS considers that the reintroduction of traditional sailing in Samoa will provide opportunities for youth development (sports, leadership), environmental awareness, cultural development and, potentially, tourism opportunities such as whale watching and adventure tours.

SVS is developing hands-on educational and training programmes in traditional sailing and navigation. The programmes will target young Samoan youth including school children, school leavers and other interested groups. The task of learning traditional sailing and navigation skills also develops leadership and discipline among the youth, leading to well-rounded young people capable of contributing positively to the growth of this nation.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It is hard to believe that only one week ago we were enjoying breakfast out at Sinalei, sweating in the sun, and swimming in the pristine turquoise waters of Samoa. While it's not nearly as warm, and the waters aren't even a fraction as blue as home, it has been great to be here amongst many of our brothers and sisters from around the South Pacific

Miraculously, all of the Samoan team managed to make it (in one piece even) to the Auckland airport where we were greeted by our Skipper. After a few laughs, and a couple of hugs from various other family members that had come to meet some at the airport, we were off to a little holiday park in Takapuna, our new home for the next week or so.

Not used to these cold temperatures (you can even see your breath at night), we loaded up with all of the blankets we could, and bundled up (thanks for the Jackets Joe!!!).

We stopped at the grocery store to pick up some breakfast items, and for many this was their first trip to one of those giant, huge, ridiculous, open all the time- supermarkets. Not quite like our little Samoa, and the selection here can be overwhelming at times.

After dining on fish and chip takeaway, we snuggled into our little caravans for our first nights sleep away from home.

Wednesday morning (April 7th), we headed to Salthouse Boat builders to launch the beautiful va'a "Hine Moana". As our boat "gaualofa" is still in Samoa this newly launched boat will be the craft that takes us around the South Pacific. It was fantastic to be at the place that crafted and created the 7 va'a (boats) dedicated to this project.

With a moving Maori ceremony and blessing, the Hine Moana finally touched the water, and good news- it floats! With large solar panels driving electric motors and wind at the sails, Hine Moana is completely free from reliance on fossil fuels to drive her through the water- how fantastic!

The Samoan crew of nine will be joined by five members from Vanuatu and one from Tonga. While these are the three main countries represented, when you look at the number of passports on board, one realizes that our crew is truly a united nations boat. Hopefully we'll see flags flown from all ten countries represented on board- Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, France, Ecuador, Canada and Tokelau.

A regatta was held on Sunday, April 11th, and it really was a treat to see all four va'a from NZ, Fiji, the Cook Islands and the Hine Moana, sailing with traditional sails around Auckland Harbour. While the wind made for a relatively slow sail (we ended up having to motor), it was awesome to pull up onto Mission Bay beach. The beach was packed with onlookers waiting for the airshow as well, so we had quite the audience.

We had better wind for our sail back to Bayswater Marina, and our hard day was made complete with a Kava ceremony put on by the Fijians, and a BBQ... mmmmmmm.

The rest of our time here has been full of preparing the boat for her voyage. With pots and pans to buy, decks to paint and safety equipment to mount, the list of things to prepare just keeps growing. With all hands on deck however, this list will be complete in no time.

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