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, May 2, 2011

Two Weeks

Date: 2nd May 2011

Two weeks... For two weeks the crew of Gaualofa have been at sea. Two weeks without a fresh water shower. Two weeks without television or radio. Two weeks without cell phones or email. Two weeks without more than five hours of sleep in a row. Two weeks without much of the comforts of life on land, and yet in these two weeks without, there is not one thing I can find missing aboard Gaualofa or for want amongst her dedicated crew.

Without the distractions of daily life on land to which we all have become accustomed, we find fulfilment in different ways. There is a certain comfort found in the discomfort and restriction of life at sea. While the daily tasks on a voyaging canoe are multitudinous and continual, they all serve a common purpose and goal: to ensure the safety and security of the va’a and her crew, and to direct our canoe steadfastly through the waters.

With no cinema to attend, no faalavelave to consume our days, and no parties to take us until the early dawn, we seek entertainment not through the external, but from the internal; from one another and the activity on board. When not on shift or working on the va’a, conversation and song permeate our days. We have had very little luck fishing thus far, so the never ending hunt for the unlucky few flying fish which end up on our deck provide another source of amusement (and the occasional snack).
As I write this, sheltered in our canoe’s small galley, my watch team trying to entice a red tailed tropic bird to join us on the deck. Koleni must have quite a tempting call as this bird hovers just feet from his head. Senio attempts to lure our feathered friend further with offerings of yesterday’s sourdough bread. In the end, it is the bird who has the last laugh, leaving a lovely parting gift splashed across our deck and sails (bird leaves droppings are good luck right?).

While we have encountered several showers and winds, and the sheer latitude of our canoe has made for cold days and nights, we have been blessed to have quite smooth sailing thus far. Offering a welcome return to the sea, such conditions have served to reinforce our unity as a crew, and have provided a little refresher to life out in the blue. Today, however, will mark the beginning of rougher conditions that will crescendo for the next 5 or 6 days. Trying to make our way through a substantial high pressure system, we will do our best to continue to go East. The winds however have not cooperated, and with the forecast build in the wind, we are being pushed further North than desired.

For now though, we will enjoy another decent afternoon at sea. Lunch is close to being served and someone is back on the ukulele. It is my turn to take the foe, and help direct the va’a in the right direction, trying to head as close into the wind in order to keep a heading as close to East as possible (fingers crossed). Must jet - I’m already a couple of minutes late.

All is well on Gaulofa. The crew sends our love to all of our family and friends back home and around the world.

Fa soifua.


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