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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The towing leaves the crews with much time on their hands and we can hear a strain of impatiens in everyone's voices

11 May 2010 7:14 p.m
Voyages - Aotearoa > French Polynesian > Cook Islands 2010

We just switched time zones so here's a 2nd update for the 11th.
The chain in our tow line (shock absorber) sizzled thru the water as it lifted and sunk with surge of the tow. The sun shone down and cooked us until we pulled our awning over our heads and lounged in the shade eating fruit, reading, occasionally throwing buckets of water over our heads and
generally enjoying a very lazy day.
We saw a sailfish briefly carve up the surface and a few smaller fish jumping, but nature wasn't turning on a show today except for a beautiful
sunset of big cumulus reflected on the calm seas.
the only real life was on board the vaka and even that wasn't moving much for the most part.
Current position at 1800 on 11/5:
South 19deg 08.9 West 149deg 06.2
heading 340 at 7.5 knots
As the sun dipped below the horizon we had haka practice and carried on thru with a bit of a jam session.
We're looking at arriving in Moorea tomorrow mid-morning, but hiding out in a bay for the day as we can't go in until the following morn.
While it's a bit frustrating having no wind at least we're traveling in the right direction at good speed.
all the best to everyone,
Marumaru Atua

Day 24 100510
Daily run: 147M
We are waking up still attached to the support vessels. No wind shift yet and now the forecasts have pushed the shift even further forward so it no point of disconnecting the tow. Suddenly Te Matau slows down and Hine Moana who are attached to our stern seems to come closer. Our tow line has snapped! An unfortunate lead around a shackle has worn through the 20mm rope. It is easy to repair and we are soon on our way again. The towing is putting a lot of strain on the lines and the canoes we realise. Uto Ni Yalo's towing line breaks as well and a few other issues appear. The towing with two canoes in a line can only be done in very calm conditions. Anything more than our current sea state with one meter swell and 8kn wind on the nose will start to cause damage on equipment.
We are struggling getting through the enormous amount of fruits and coconuts. Constantly someone is handing out bananas and is insisting on a freshly opened coconut to wash it down with. The fleet are steadily moving north.
The towing leaves the crews with much time on their hands and we can hear a strain of impatiens in everyone's voices when we have our round up calls on the vhf. Why doesn't the wind turn around? Do we have to tow? Can't we just drift until it changes? Well, we have to be patient. A different kind of patients than the ancestors had.
They had to drift to wait for the wind to shift. We have the luxury having the support vessels here that can help us getting to the right winds and thus compromise with the modern world time schedules. But on the canoes we have to practice another kind of patients by not being able to sail ourselves. It is not the proudest moment being towed.
At one point we hope that the towing will be obsolete all together. We are trying new technology on Hine Moana and Te Matau. The Solarpower electric drives. These systems will allow the canoes to use the energy from the sun during day time to slowly motor against light winds or when being becalmed. The systems are still on sea trails and Te Matau's has developed issues. Water has dripped into sensitive areas of the electric system and caused a lot of corrosion. A bit of a nightmare on any vessel but on a vaka it seems to be worse.
It is peculiar, on this traditional vessel we find the most cutting edge technology. A true marriage of the ancient and the future! The system is interesting from many perspectives. Without the sun the batteries last for three hours. This means that except for landfall we have to sail wherever we go. We can't defeat the strong winds with these motors but have to find ways around them or wait for good wind directions. This gives good feeling of conne cting to the old ways of travelling. Not fighting he elements but working with them.
Well, when the new system works it is good. None of Te Matau's motors work right now. 48 fine wires need to be re-soldered to remove the corroded terminals. This should take care of the main problems but knowing how saltwater and electrics mix we are bound to encounter more issues. We get a soldering pack from Foftein in a dry bag that were passed along the towing line and we start the tedious job to connect the fine wires. It is a hard job in the small aft compartment, the heat, the constant rocking, the state of the wires. After five hours of near misses two wires are connected. This is going to take some time. It's getting dark so we decide to wait until tomorrow and get some help from one of Foftein's professional engineers. If we can't solve this now we won't have any motors to enter into Moorea.
Nga Mihi
Te Matau a Maui

Vaka Time Position
Te Matau a Maui 0600 20'19S 148'24W
Hine Moana 0600 20'19S 148'24W
Uto Ni Yalo 0600 20'19S 148'35W
Marumaru Atua 0600 20'19S 148'35W
Faafaite 0600 20'25S 148'22W

10 May 2010 6:51 p.m
Voyages - Aotearoa > French Polynesian > Cook Islands 2010

A peaceful day of towing. Not overly stimulating from a sail-the-oceans point of view, but nice to back at sea and sharing the stimulating conversation of our small but diverse whanau.
it's very nice to have Te Aturangi amongst us, he's a welcome addition to the crew.
There's a real sense of the pressure being off now the vast span of the South Pacific is behind us and our passages are reduced to a mere two or three days between islands.
having said that we still took time for Emergency Procedure drills today.
you don't need to be in the middle of an ocean to get in trouble and familiarity with the procedures can save lives.
As the sun set it was head counts, grab bags, and life rafts. "what do you do if..." "how do you issue a Mayday?"
At the end of our drills we finished with an Emergency cup of tea. Most important.
Current position at 1800 on 11/5:
South 21deg 23.1 West 148deg 09.1
Heading 340 at 7 knots
Hoping you all have a peaceful watch and don't need your liferaft tonight,
Marumaru Atua

Day 23 090510
Daily run: 60M
Today we decide to leave Raivavae. The wind is still north but very light and will soon be changing to south. We decided that we can let the escort vessels tow us up to the favourable winds. A voyage shouldn't have schedules but we have to compromise with the modern world in Tahiti where they are expecting us.
We will go to Moorea first and then over to Papeete. We decide to leave after lunch when the wind is expected to drop off. And of course we can't leave on empty stomachs. In preparations for the last meal Faafaite went fishing the whole evening yesterday.
At midday another over the top meal is dished out on banana leaves in the shadows of the trees. We haven't been able to avoid the attention of Raivavae yet. A couple of outrigger canoes have come out heavily loaded with more food! We have no idea how to reciprocate all this hospitality.
We have presented gifts from the canoes to the people but it feels nowhere close to what we have received.
During the morning some of the crew went through the lashings of the kiatos on the inside of the canoes. We pulled up the canoes as much as possible on the beach to be able stand and work on the bottom. The small tide was going out after lunch and left Te Matau and Marumaru sitting quite firmly on the bottom. But we had decided to leave so everyone engaged to pull them free.
We wiggled, pulled and pushed and finally the canoes floated free and we started making our way out from the lagoon. Te Matau had still issues with one motor so Marumaru towed her to the outside the channel through the reef.
There all of the canoes connected up to the escort vessels. The little caravan of canoes and boats turned their bow to the north and left Raivavae in the dimming light behind.
Nga Mihi
Te Matau a Maui

Vaka Time Position
Te Matau a Maui 1800 23'46S 147'40W
Hine Moana 1800 23'46S 147'40W
Uto Ni Yalo 1800 23'47S 147'40W
Marumaru Atua 1800 23'47S 147'40W
Faafaite 1800 23'44S 147'36W

8May 2010 9:40am
Greetings to all,
We have just anchored in the lagoon on the south side of Raivavae to give these beautiful islanders a reprieve from giving as abundantly as they have been and ourselves a break from eating the abundance that they have shared.
As someone said, their generosity has been bigger than their mountain. The welcome we received after 3 weeks at sea was overwhelming.
We were greeted on the dock by the crew of Faafaite and most of Raivavae's 500 inhabitants, palm fronds waving, drums beating and voices raised in song. Men, women and children wearing flowers and plaited grasses and leaves.
As the crews stepped ashore each person had an 'ei' or lei of flowers placed around their necks. We had brief welcoming speeches, wiata from the adults and kids and haka from the crews and then walked 200 meters in a straight line (first time in a while) to the town hall where the island women sang wave after wave of Raivavaen songs, the chorus of voices raised in harmony and celebration was was truly wonderful.
After the official welcome we were ushered around to the back of the hall where drums, guitars, more singers serenaded us as women, singing and dancing, led us to our seats.
After so long living on corned beef it was amazing to have tables piled high with different foods and fruits. The river of their generosity never ran dry although by the time they had fed us for three days and loaded the five vaka with as much fruit and cooked food as they could carry we suspected there probably wasn't a banana left on the island.
Last night we beached the vaka on a little motu in the lagoon to wait for the wind to change from the north before heading to Tahiti. The delay is really a blessing in disguise, it gives us a chance to get the canoes in order and get a little r and r in for the crews. Between official tours, kava 'ceremonies' lasting late into the night and the throng of visitors and children swarming over the vaka it's been fantastic, but hardly restful.
We had a roaring bonfire on the beach, a little shared food and quiet conversations then I slipped away for an early night, ukeleles and guitars following me as I went.
We hope the wind will come around to the East in about 2 days and that we will leave for Tahiti late Sunday or Monday with a good breeze on the beam to shoot us up there.
From a place of Peace and Gratitude (lucky eh)

Marumaru Atua

Day19 050510
Just to the west of Raivavae the four vaka's lined up behind Faafaite before entering the passage into Rairua Bay. Faafaite, Marmaru Atua, Te Matau a Maui, Uto Ni Yalo, Hine Moana one line. More than a mile out we hear a thunder. Drums. Drums from the island and fainter soft voices singing.
A brisk breeze pushing us all closer to land and ahead of Faafaite are two outrigger canoes leading us into a chorus of Polynesian voices and the rhythmic drumbeat. This sight sent shivers up our spines, it seemed like the whole island had turned out to greet us, in an array of bright colours, conches blowing, fronds waving in the background. Head gear and garlands of leis sway in time with bodies as they sing out their welcome until each vaka is berthed.
Speeches were short with each vaka crew being called forward and acknowledged, then it was a short procession to the mayor's residence where the mayor-Bruno Flores began the official speeches and gifts were exchanged.
Crews sitting in the hot sun on the concrete path soon dispersed to find cooler spots until the proceedings were finished. Next was the abundant feast that welcomed us in truly sumptuous- island styles, the tables were ladened with local produducts, and to aid the digestion was the accompaniment of continuous singing and dancing. It all went on well into the night!
Our voyage to Raivavae really begins the story of the legendary Hiro-warrior voyager. It got told to us by the local metua- Rahiti-nui-arii Teipoarii and translated by Matahi from Faafataite. Hiro was born and grew up here and as a young man he climbed up the mountain and slept with a woman and for which he was exiled by his father as a test.
Hiro gathered around him young men who built a canoe and sailed 170. Hapai was the navigator that guided Hiro on his voyages to Raiatea, Moorea and outer islands. He left different signs and names and sailed further to Samoa, Rarotonga and Aotearoa. Leaving various wives and siblings along the way he finally settled and died in Maunganui-Aotearoa.
Nga Mihi
Te Matau a Maui
Vaka Time Position
Te Matau a Maui 0600 Rairua Bay, Raivavae
Hine Moana 0600 Rairua Bay, Raivavae
Uto Ni Yalo 0600 Rairua Bay, Raivavae
Marumaru Atua 0600 Rairua Bay, Raivavae
Faafaite 0600 Rairua Bay, Raivavae

Na Te Aranui Tapu O Te Ui Tupuna”
“Along the Sacred Highway of our Ancestors”
Kia Orana CIVS Members & Supporters,
The 5 Vaka have arrived at Raivavae! They tied up at the jetty in Rairua Bay at 10:00am 5th May. It was reported that the crew members on all 5 vaka could here the welcoming drums ‘more than a mile away!’
The first leg of the voyage is completed & all are safe & well & in high spirits.
From Raivavae the fleet will sail to Papeete, on to Moorea, then Raiatea & on to Rarotonga.
Meanwhile preparations for the Fleet arrival here in Rarotonga are proceeding well. The Planning Committee –comprising representatives from: CIVS, Min of Culture, the local pacific communitys –have put together a draft plan comprising preparations leading up to the arrival, the Welcome Ceremony at Avana & Stop-Over Programme, which I will send out to all soon.
The ETA for the arrival is 31st May & the Planning Committee has scheduled the welcome ceremony to begin at 3:00pm. The Fleet are determined to adhere to the ETA however it is subject to weather conditions & we will be able to confirm the arrival time closer to the date.
Our Vaka, Marumaru Atua once home will be staying home & the other 4 Vaka are scheduled to stop-over for 4 days before leaving for their home destinations. The fleet will moor at Avana on arrival but will then move to Avatiu Harbour - probably the following day.
CIVS members - the Executive will be calling a meeting shortly where we will discuss & organize our part in the arrival & stop-over .
Meanwhile everyone please keep following the amazing voyage on our CIVS website:
Kia Manuia,

Eva Nepia-Clamp

General Secretary
Cook Islands Voyaging Society

Kia ora,
At 1000 local time Wednesday 5th May 5 vaka tied up at at the jetty in
Rairua Bay in Raivavae.
We could here the drums from the welcoming crowed for more than a mile away.

Te Matau a Maui
Position 23'52S 147'41W

3 May 2010 7:17 p.m
And so we tow.
Overnight the wind left us and although still moving it was decided that with such a short distance to go we would get a helping hand from the escort
vessels and cover the last hundred or so miles under tow.
We expect to arrive on raivavae on wednesday morning.
current position at 1800 on 3/5:
South 24deg 58.5 West 149deg 27.3
heading 060 at about 8 knots
the whole day has stayed clear and flat. we had a beautiful sunset and successful cake recovery mission.
Our towing vessel, 'Evohe' baked a couple of cakes,sealed them in tins and floated them back to us on a boogie board.
We in turn eased them back to Uto ni Yalo (we are towing 2 vaka behind each support boat).
About half way back to Uto things took an interesting turn when the boogie board disappeared below the surface and didn't come back up. After a good 10 minutes and complete reduction in speed it re-surfaced in just about the right place and the cake was rescued. Unbelievably it was not as moist as we imagined and was pronounced a successful and adventurous cake after it's 5 meter descent into the depths. A testament to the wrapping and sealing skills of the bakers.
all good here despite some frustration at the lack of wind and need to be towed.

Day 16 040510
Daily run: 128M
The report is delayed today. We spend the morning setting up towing bridles. After midnight last night the wind disappeared all together and Te Matau and sister Hine Moana sat bobbing together moving only a few miles with the currents. Uto Ni Yalo motored towards us from the west most of the night and the same for Marumaru Atua.
In the morning the decision was taken to ask the escort vessels to tow us north east in the direction of Raivavae and hopefully some wind. Now Te Matau and Hine Moana are being towed one after each other by Foftein. Marumaru are hooked on to Evohe and Uto is still motoring under her own steam.
Yesterday Hine Moana and Te Matau sailed well in the light winds and were steadily doing 5-6kn. Hine is faster than Te Matau but when they were coming close they took down their genoa so we could stay together. For some reason Uto and Marumaru couldn't catch up with us. They actually lost ground.
We can't really figure out which canoes are the fastest, the lighter ones or the heavier ones. Well, Uto seems to be hard to catch up on! Te Matau and Hine might just have managed to hang on to the right clouds and got some more wind than the others.
It was another relaxing day. A little bit of rain but just enough to rinse the deck. Then sun. Nice warm and drying sun. Now when we spend more time on the deck we take the opportunity to have a daily korero about what will be expected of us when we arrive to the various islands, the history of different vaka and Tahi takes us through some of the navigators history.
We are practicing haka and waiata that we think are appropriate for Raivavae. The powhiri there is going to be an important event for us on the canoes as well as for the people of Raivavae.
In the lazy hours between the watches we lay on the deck. Liam more often with the ukulele or guitar in his hands than not. Small details submerge during the small talk on the deck. Stolen socks get returned. Different perspective of situations and the rough days is shared. We had a suspicion that we were getting faster during the trip. The other canoes didn't get so far ahead of us anymore. Of course we are getting lighter since we are getting through our provision and water. But so are the other canoes.
When we were all sitting on the deck behind the whare talking and laughing and looking around amongst us someone commented that our clothes were all kind of flapping in the light winds. For all of us! We have become thinner! We have probably shaved of 70kg all together!
Thankfully we haven't that far to go to Raivavae. There awaits the beaches, the solid ground, the feasts and just a few hours of tranquil rest for our souls.
Nga Mihi
Te Matau a Maui
(before the tow)
Vaka Time Position
Te Matau a Maui 0600 25'30S 150'24W
Hine Moana 0600 25'30S 150'28W
Uto Ni Yalo 0600 25'25S 150'24W
Marumaru Atua 0600 25'38S 150'38W

New day
The day began for me with a tavake, the red tailed bird that can fly backwards, dancing around the half moon in the pale blue sky of early morning.

A few moments later the water beside the vaka burst with a whoosh as a humpback surfaced for air ten metres away, almost immediately another appeared right beside close enough to jump on to. for the next ten minutes four or five whales cruised along with us at six or seven knots before finally dropping from sight and presumably continuing their easterly course. It was a magnificent start to the day and although the winds have been very light for the afternoon and evening we are nearing our goal.
Current position at 1800 on 2/5:
South 25deg 44.0 West 151deg29.9 heading 080 (ENE-ish) at 4-5 knots
Everyone is looking forward to land and the talk ranges from fresh greens and roast pork to sand between the toes and a cold beer. Strangely no one has voiced the desire for more corned beef.
Look forward to seeing everyone already on Raivavae when we arrive and hope everyone else is well and happy and enjoying a varied diet.

Day 15 030510
Daily run: 130M
We have the rising sun on starboard bow and are pointing just below Raivavae. The wind has dropped right off to 10kn from a WNW direction. After turning east we had a couple of more squalls. The last one was of course the worst with again horizontal rain and severe gusts.
A few miles south of Te Matau Marumaru Atua estimated 50kn gusts! When the squall had passed Marumaru she called us on the vhf to warn us. We didn't realise that we had passed through the same one.
On Te Matau, we desperately started to prepare for the next hit and were straining our eyes to locate the new squall. After a moment we sigh of relief when we understood that it was already gone. Since then the weather has been calm.

It is nice to see the crew enjoying the deck again. The deck is the living space on a vaka. The stormy weather the last weeks made it almost impossible to use for anything else than working, besides occasional moments, because it has been awash most of the time in the big seas. In contrast to many other canoes, Te Matau and her sisters have the luxury of having bunks below to sleep in. When you are off watch you catch up on your sleep and try to get dry. But now we are on the deck together. Everyone is up, enjoying the sun, drying their clothes, having bucket showers, it was actually a cue to the port stern corner that we use for washing ourselves. Tahi and Liam is jamming with the guitars. The calm weather is soothing our souls.

When everyone is on deck we have a Korero about the past days and also what we can look forward to. It is good, everyone in the crew is ventilating their thoughts, some smaller issues are resolved. It is a little bit like a fog has lifted. We can sud denly see clear again, morale is high and we feel that we easily can take another week of bad weather! But we don't really want to.

Te Matau and Hine Moana are sailing close together again. Both vaka are covered in clothes, towels and wet weather gear that is hanging out to dry in the breeze. The crews are spread out on the decks basking in the sun. We have a happy moment of "vaka life".

On "Radio Vaka" last night we discovered that Uto Ni Yalo had ended up west of Marumaru, Te Matau and Hine Moana who are within a couple of miles of each other. We all got the light winds at about the same time and she hasn't been able to catch up with the rest. She is now 25M west of the fleet and is doing the same course and speed, 060T and about 5kn in the light air. We are moving slow but for the moment we have no need of going faster!

We have dinner before sunset. It is the first proper meal together for 12 days on Te Matau. It is beautiful and we don't really want it to end.

Nga Mihi

Te Matau a Matau a Maui

Vaka Time Position
Te Matau a Maui 0600 26'00S 152'22W
Hine Moana 0600 26'01S 152'25W
Uto Ni Yalo 0644 25'45S 153'03W
Marumaru Atua 0600 26'02S 152'32W

May 1st, 6pm.
A week or more of strong breezes and a night of heavy rain culminated this morning with a 50 knot gust that landed without warning, rattled the rigging and then disappeared taking all wind with it.
thankfully it also took the rain and cloudy skies with it leaving us to bob around in the sunshine for a couple of hours sponging water out of the hulls and drying clothes and bodies washed in the last of the downpours.
the breeze then filled in to gentle 10 knots and we cruised thru the afternoon. The guitar came out just before a beautiful sunset and all in all things are looking good.
Current position at 1800 1/5:
South 26deg 23.6 West 153deg 37.0 heading 050deg, NE at 6-8 knots.
350 miles to go to Raivavae. Light winds for a couple of days could make it slow going but we're very close.

all the best to everyone,


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