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.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Location: due west of Apia Harbour
Time: Wednesday midmorning
Destination: Manono Island via Mulifanua
Mission: Meeting the Elders of Manono Island and request upon them in teaching and bestowing Gaualofa and her Crew their blessings in reviving the old ways of how our ancestors came to these shores. And taking school children and locals out for a sail.
Present: It’s Wednesday morning and we have just left Apia Harbour. Our first stop is Mulifanua and second is Manono Island, both are due west. We will be spending the night in Mulifanua as our actual destination is Manono Island. It lies between the Main Island, Upolu, and Apolima. We’ve finally dredged up enough courage to call upon people of Manono for aid.
In the History of Samoa during times of constant warring, any district that had the backing of Manono was sure to win. Manono not only had the largest naval fleet that halted any surprise attacks and patrolled the sea trade but it also had strong ties with neighboring islands: Tonga and Fiji. If dire need of assistance was requested by either of the countries the call was always answered. Manono is said among the locals, to be the last place in Samoa to conform to modern-day sea vessels.
The crew is looking forward to this trip as it will also mean possible recruitment from people who know a vast deal more of the canoe culture. We have our traditional rig on: crab claw/ marquises rig; we’ve also constructed new jowls for the traditional booms, as the former design wasn’t quite user friendly for winds of over 15knots. They had completely cracked on the first time we set them on, so with our spanking new boom jowls, our course was set due west. As winds were blowing NE, averaging 14 knots, we were sailing ca. 7 knots having the wind on our starboard quarter. It was a fairly easy run all the way. We caught a good size trivielly just in time for an early dinner. The only thing that marred our sail was the high concentration of trash which was in the ocean. We arrived in Mulifanua lagoon and laid anchor and rested up for the big day tomorrow. This anchorage was chosen as it is the safest and closest anchorage from our appointed meeting with the people of Manono, tomorrow at 09.00. So for now, soifua.
Time: Morning of the BIG DAY
Present: Morning was beautiful and we were joined by two members of our society as well as a local ex-pat and his family (they coincidentally run a sailing venture based in this part of the main island, Samoa Sailing Adventures).Breakfast was quickly inhaled as the hour of our appointment was rapidly approaching; though we still managed to not arrive on time. As we’re based in Samoa and keeping with local customs is of the utmost importance, we arrived just in due time. Local time etiquette: either be very early or very late, it’s rude to be on time. Finer details aside we were still greeted with smiles and not a fleet of paopaos .We quickly laid anchor like so: stern to shore bow to lagoon and a stern line to the beach tied around a niu. Faapau (crew member), bravely sacrificed his dry self to ferry the children on board Gaualofa, with the dinghy as it was too shallow to attach the outboard to it. When everyone was finally onboard, we were soon introduced to the chiefs and orators of Manono Island! And they had brought a minister along! After the service, you could clearly see and hear the relief that was being voiced by the crew. We’ve been accepted by the people of Manono Island, now the second part of the mission- Prove that their blessings are and will be put to good use. A demonstration was required- we were still able to sail around in the lagoon, even though there were slight winds and we were making only 5-6 knots. A couple of the Elders got into explaining the Samoan terminology for the different parts of the Va’a. We soon found out that the main parts of the va’a are used in Samoan idioms! The elders and the children clearly enjoyed their little outing on a double hulled canoe. None of the children seemed to be frightened by the maneuvers the Va’a went through, we had little young uns’ vying to stand by the foe!(note for you safety alarmists, just to touch it!) After a thoroughly satisfying sail we made our way back to Apia harbour. Winds were still blowing NE at the same speed which we then optioned to motor sail back, which we did in 3 ½ hours.
Mission accomplished! Gaualofa and her crew are looking forward to their next adventure to Manono Island, and hopefully will stay longer. Faafetai tele lava. Soifua!