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.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Highlights and Future Plans...

Dear SVS members, supporters and friends,

We would like to update you on activities this year of the Aiga Folau o Samoa or Samoa Voyaging Society (SVS).

2010 Highlights

2010 has been a huge year for our young society; here are some of the highlights:

• Our Samoan crew with Captain Marc Gondard sailed more than 4,000 nautical miles from New Zealand to Tahiti, Cook islands, Samoa and then to Tonga on the va’atele “Hine Moana” from April to July this year. We sailed as part of the Pacific Voyaging Fleet with 4 other traditional va’a and visited five countries The attached photos show the arrival ceremony of the voyaging fleet in Samoa, with our patron His Highness the Head of State of Samoa and the Hine Moana leaving Sinalei

• On this epic journey the Samoan crew were environmental ambassadors- promoting the need for marine conservation and wise stewardship of the oceans.

• In August we had the maiden voyage of our own va’atele “Gaualofa” to Vava’u, Tonga and back a distance of almost 1000 nautical miles

• In September we went to Tokelau and back, a distance of 800 nautical miles return. We took with us Foua Toloa, the former Ulu or Head of Tokelau, who taught the crew star navigation techniques

• Between October and December many school groups and overseas and local visitors have visited the va’a and more than 100 Samoan children have had the opportunity to sail and learn about traditional voyaging and navigation. This has been a hugely successful part of the program as a core goal of our society is to promote pride and knowledge in traditional navigation amongst the youth

• We went on many short voyages to different parts of Samoa, including to Manono island where there was huge interest from the community and where we discovered that the ancient skills of traditional navigation are still alive in Samoa

• We are developing a close partnership with the Samoan Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture whom we hope to be working hand in hand on further outreach activities in 2011 and beyond

• Our young local crew have grown and matured and are now ready to take on the world with confidence in their skills as sailors and with enhanced pride in their culture

Faafetai tele to our sponsors and supporters

We would like to thank all our sponsors for their generous support this year especially the Okeanos Foundation who have provided us our va’a on very favorable terms and continue to fund much of our core running costs.

We also thank the Samoa Tourism Authority for a very generous donation for our official launch a year ago and to cover some running costs and also SPREP who gave us a grant to promote ocean conservation in early 2010. We would also like to thank Stuart Chape of SPREP for taking the most incredible photographs of our va’a and crew, including the ones attached. We thank UNESCO for giving us a grant to develop a strategy to promote traditional navigation and improve out outreach activities in Samoa. Other sponsors include Apia Concrete Products (ACP), the Apia Yacht Club, Big Bear, Samoa Ports Authority, Silva Transport, Tony Hill and Sinalei Reef Resort.

Last but not least we would like to thank the wonderful hosts who fed and hosted our crews on our voyages this year- in particular our hosts in Rarotonga, Tahiti, Tokelau, and Vavau, Tonga. We hope to have the opportunity to reciprocate one day when you visit Samoa.

Planning for 2011 Voyage

We are now in the throes of preparing and training for another epic journey-from Samoa to Fiji, Tahiti, Marquesas, Hawaii and back to Samoa starting in February 2011. Once again we will be joining with va’a from NZ, Fiji, the Cook Islands and Tahiti on the journey which has as its main objective the promotion of ocean conservation and sustainable management, and in particular to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on the oceans. The voyaging fleet will all congregate in Honolulu harbor, Hawaii in early July 2011 where an Ocean Climate conference to raise awareness on these critical issues will be held. We hope that our patron, His Highness the Head of State, will sail with us for part of the voyage.

Crew needed

We are still seeking crew for the voyages in 2011 and will be interviewing for new crew in early January. We will be advertising interview times in the press and on the radio. For more information please call Ame on 7510693

Donations needed

We are in desperate need of more funds to support our va’a’s ongoing running costs, outreach activities and to provide some financial support for our volunteer crew. We also need to raise 200,000 NZD (360,000 tala) before the end of 2012 in order to purchase the va’a outright from the Okeanos Foundation. Please consider a generous donation for this worthy cause- our account details are below:

Bank account details:
Account Name: SAMOA VOYAGING SOCIETY INC main branch Apia
Account N°: 3803142


The Samoa Voyaging Society exists only because of our members. In particular we need members who are willing to volunteer part time for a few hours a week to assist with a range of activities, including fundraising, marketing and crew training. Membership is currently 10 tala per person and we would like to encourage you to renew your membership as soon as possible. Membership entitles you to discounted sailing trips, participation in ocean voyages (subject to passing basic fitness and other training) and to participation in the Annual General Meeting of the SVS.

You may renew your membership through a direct bank transfer or just contact us and we will provide you with a receipt. We would be grateful if you would also encourage others members of the community to join the SVS!

Please contact the SVS Secretary, James Atherton on 7770787, Captain Marc Gondard on 7720276 or myself on 7773949 if you wish to renew your membership or make a donation.

We look forward to another exciting year of development and adventure for the SVS and thank you all for your engagement and support this year.

Ia manuia le kerisimasi ma le tausaga fou.

Soifua and God Bless,

Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale
Aiga Folau o Samoa President

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Manono Expedition


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!