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.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

29th July 2011

Position: 39 01.4' N / 125 13.5' W

Course: 110 °T

Speed: 7 knots

We're having cheese twisties on our watch at the moment and chocolate, with tea. It's almost five in the morning and it's gusting 28 knots with winds of 25 knots. Koleni andIi are in the galley and Faapau is sitting at the galley opening. I just asked Faapau to check how cold is it and he stuck his finger in his mouth and stuck it in the air, then Koleni who's sitting next to him said 'ua malili lou lima' lol. These guys are too funny.

Salai is on the foe andIi'm his spotman but am in the galley getting warm until it's my turn to get on the foe. I'm supposed to be out there to be his look out, keep him company and help him with the foe. Faapau called out to him ' malo le foe' his quick response was, ' faafetai lava le fa'a malo mai' lol. It's a constant crack up on my watch with Koleni and Salai with their smart aleck quick responses.

The grey overcast sky casts the same colour on the moana sausau. It’s less choppy than yesterday morning with 1 metre waves now. Yesterday some of them were breaking on the deck giving the foe-man a good shower. We had to sew two sliders onto the sail which had come off during high winds earlier this week. We dropped the sail and had Faapau (our lightest guy) climb onto the boom and re-stitch the sail to the sliders.

We’re about 130 nautical miles away from our port of destination; we’re looking forward to seeing family, friends and new acquaintances.

The crew is healthy and still cracking jokes, so in high spirits.

Faafetai tele lava mo taupuaiga ma talosaga o loo manuia lava uma le auvaa.

Alofa atu,



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

25 July 2011, Monday

Position: 41°48.6’ N / 138°53.9’ W (some odd 790 nautical miles left till we arrive under the Golden Gate Bridge) Speed: 9 knots

Heading: 110° T

It’s cold. How subtle was that put? And since the last time I mentioned the cold, hey it’s still cold; it’s very very cold.

Imagine our tufuna achieving this long voyage up north, in conditions that are just beyond mind boggling and add on the fact that they didn’t have the comfort of weather gear, thermal socks, marine boots and the occasional koko samoa fix we have on board… It’s just amazing!

It’s early morn and the sun is slowly making its climb from the Koolao quadrant gradually illuminating the sky and giving a face to another new day.

We pray to see a few of her rays peek out and provide us with a little bit of warmth today. The sky has a slightly lighter overcast to it than it did the last couple of days: a bluish and grey tint, reflecting off the moana sausau in a tumultuous play on the surface.

The cold weather makes us longing for the warmer days, which we had at the beginning of this leg, but we’re also quite thankful that we haven’t run into any bad weather. Bad weather defined by the crew: heavy downpour and winds of over 35knots. We’re grateful to be dry and we’re just as grateful if not more to be part of this epic voyage.

We’re once again together with the fleet, which is a nice feeling. To see and feel that your family of voyagers is nearby - conjured just by the sight of their navigation lights. As we near our destination there’s also a high increase of traffic. We’ve been spotting and hearing of cargo ships cruising along possibly on the same course we’re doing.

We’ve also had the privilege of sighting whales. For the last 6 days we’ve seen about 6-8 whales. How phenomenal is that?

Our little island is safe as well as the natives on board. Eating heartily and constantly finding ways to amuse ourselves during the sometimes dreary watches.

Faafetai tele lava mo le taupuiaga ma alofa’aga. O lea malolosi le auva’a ma le kapiteni.

Soifua, FB

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday 23rd July - The latest

It’s Saturday 23rd July, a little behind in sending the blog…

We’ve been running and doing circa 9-10 knots since the northwest winds picked up to 15 knot late last evening. Swells coming from the southwest and sea state of F3.

There’s a lot of tulususu, cheering and laughter since then. Everyone’s in a good mood now that we’re moving at our usual speed. I guess we revel and seem to do better during rough weather.

Lolesio made a really yummy minestrone soup for lunch and Koleni had made sua masi for breakfast earlier. Everyone is in good health and smiling.

Faafetai tele lava mo taupuaiga ma alofa’aga. E fia momoli atu alofa’aga a le auva’a i aiga ma uao masiani.

Soifua, FB

22nd July 2011 - Wind on our Back

Position: 42°36.8’ N / 151°04.9’ W
Heading: 096° True (heading for San Francisco!)
Speed: 7 knots

Talofa lava,

We finally have wind! After two days of light winds or no wind at all and glass-like ocean, we have a reprieve and received ca. + 10 knots of wind from the west. That’s something after bobbing around and just trying to point the va’a back on course.

We are currently running with our genniker, with the wind on our back and ‘butterfly’ style as our crew fondly dubs the set of sails- main on starboard and mizzen on the port. We’ve been running like this since John’s shift early this morn at sunrise and we’ve covered good ground which is quite a relief, the bobbing around is very relaxing but you don’t go anywhere. This whole week due to the calm weather we’ve been taking advantage of it by learning new siva routines, jamming and just catching up with the latest jokes on board.

We actually had company in the last day and a half where we bobbed: the Cookie va’a, Marumaru Atua was close to us which was nice. We were so close that we could’ve gone over to borrow sugar.

During one of my watches with my crew, we decided to paddle towards the Cookies (about 400 meters away) using our dinghy paddles. That only lasted until we were about 300 meters away from them then we were done.

Imagine! A 14 ton va’a being paddled by four Samoans with puny light weight wooden dinghy paddles? Let’s say we received a good work out and had fun passing time.

Yesterday we had a small flock of albatross following us on our stern during the evening and this morning we had a great sperm whale coming from the north heading south east. It was pretty awesome. The whale came along on our port side and was about 15 meters away. It was just cruising on by.

Though it’s still overcast, the rays of sunlight that break through during sunrise and sunset are literally silver linings for our crew.

Life at Sea (and) a Box of Chocolates!

The sun sets on another calm day at sea. Everyday of this voyage has brought us lessons, and every encounter we have been blessed with has touched all of our lives in ways which are revealing themselves at unexpected moments, but more often then not, for the better.

We just finished a meeting with our crew - it is time to come together once again, and remind ourselves of the love inherent in each of us - for our fellow crew members, for the canoe, and for the oceans. We have many more lessons to learn, but I think we are on our way.

Marumaru offered us some morning company, as the light, focal winds gave us a chance to pull along side them. It was nice to see the faces and smiles of the other crews. They handed over a glass float, left behind by previous generations. The transparent of the blown glass globe reminds all of those who have passed these oceans before us.

The ocean has been incredibly kind to us on our voyage to the mainland. The wind is calm, the air is dry, and the swell of the waters is barely discernible - a welcome calm and change from our trip leaving New Zealand. Yet, as we make our way further north, the chill in the air reminds us all that we are far from home.

Five months we have been at sea. Five months of experience, education, and lessons for which our lives will be touched forever.

All the best from Gaualofa and a very happy and special birthday to Fani Bruun - we're all happy to be able to celebrate this day with her today. In fact, Evohe even sent over a birthday treat for her- a box of chocolates (I think we'll all benefit from this gift).

18th July 2011, Monday

Position: 40°44.3’ N / 157°51.7’ W (still making our way north for that 42° N turn)

It’s been one week since we left the Hawaiian Islands to sail for San Francisco, one week out at sea.

Yesterday was our first impression on this leg of bad weather: small downpours with short gusts of 19 knots. We were in the process of having our weekly aiga meeting when it had to be cut short due to no one wanting be get caught in the chilly elements. But we did finalise and came to an accord before making a dash for warmer and dry areas.

Jeff (our captain), made dinner for the first time on this leg and since he’s a vegetarian we were kind on tenterhooks with regard to what the meal would be; It turned out to be a quite a satisfying and lovely meal.

The night itself soon turned out to be quite cloudy and overcast which was a first since we’ve left. We only had the wind, swell patterns and our watch captains who serve as our traditional navigator-in-training.

The weather is getting colder as we trek our way north. This is the highest latitude we’ve ever been and I should say, we Samoans are NOT built for the cold. I guess that’s why our ancestors stayed close to the equator, my heartfelt gratitude goes to them for that choice; note this is my theory.

Taking sea water baths while the water is 15° C with winds of 12° C takes its toll on a person. But then us Samoans are fastidious so being clean is very vital to us; else like on our va’a we would bully or tease each other for not taking a bath. There was this one time we were teasing Kalolo for not taking a bath for some time and his quick response was, “I’m saving the seawater, we’re here to preserve it not waste it.”

For those who are unaware of the water conditions on board: fresh water is only used to drink and for cooking. Seawater is used for everything else; fresh water is very precious. And with that note Jeff has announced movie night for this evening: premiering on Gaualofa- End of the Line, a documentary about our consumption habits leading to the collapse of fish stocks world-wide.

We’ve had the pleasure and fortune of observing two large pods of dolphins in one day; early today around the afternoon and later in the evening. It was quite an uplifting sight; after sighting and collecting so much rubbish the last 6 days it’s a great relief that sea life is still alive in these waters.

I haven’t introduced my watch team as of yet, as I normally do at the beginning of each leg; on this leg (Hawaii – San Francisco) I have Koleni, Faapa’u, Sala’i and myself. As I have two comedians on the watch, we’re always laughing our heads off; never a dull moment. Of course we don’t just crack jokes on our watch; we also make sure the va’a is secure, check our position, plotting on charts, navigate by the elements and yes at times eat.

Due to the huge amount of saimin (instant noodles) that was gifted to Gaualofa, we’re still munching our way through it and it’s much appreciative during the 0300 am shifts. Faafetai tele lava.

Everything and everyone on board is safe and healthy. The crew sends their alofa to their family, friends and supporters. Faafetai tele lava mo le taupuaiga, o lea e alolofa atu le au va’a uma o le Gaualofa mo le atunu’u atoa o Samoa faapea le Aiga Folau o Samoa.

Soifua, FB

Saturday, July 16, 2011

15th July 2011

Position: 31°18.1’ N / 159°42.4’ W (Somewhere in the North Pacific Ocean)

It’s a beautiful day, meaning sunny with low cumulus clouds and no other type above. We have north easterly swells and wind on our fine starboard beam; we’re a tad farther upwind from the rest of fleet and have received orders to change our course from direct north to 20 degrees west of north. This will bring us closer to the fleet (we’re slightly behind them at the moment but it’s not a big deal, we’re averaging 7 knots in winds of 8-14 knots) but still upwind from them so that when we’re given directions from our fleet Captain or leading Navigators to change course directly east we would have made good ground for the turn.

After a full hour of daily housekeeping we settled into breakfast, Lolesio made wholemeal bread garnished with onions, tomatoes and cheddar cheese, lightly grilled with boiled eggs with a large selection of hot beverages: tea (100 types!), real coffee and cocoa.

The whole morning we’ve had our radio on, a large variety of music blaring from our home made speakers: two large 20kg buckets with small speakers attached to the lids. We bring them out during days like this and store them when the weather is foul.

Lolesio has prepared roast lamb for lunch and we’re now trying to figure out what to have it with: rice or potatoes. Of course Lolesio has now vetoed both suggestions as there’s still left over taro from last night. Things become basic on board - safety, shelter and food are the usual challenges and cause most of the dynamics.

We’ve been going through our saimin (instant noodles) rations pretty quickly. Thank you to our new aiga(s) in Hawaii who have welcomed us into their homes and hearts and providing us with food provisions and grooming accessories (faafetai lava Talu J ). The crew would like to send their faafetai tele lava and alofa’aga to our new found families in the Hawaiian Islands, your endless generosity and support knows no bounds.
Faafetai faafetai tele lava.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Farewell Hawaii

12th July 2011

Today we leave Hawaii and head to California. In the afternoon, after preparations had been made to the va’a, Nainoa Thompson briefed the navigators on the sail plan to San Francisco. Afterwards the fleet made their way to the beach for a final goodbye.

Marc joined us one last time for our custom belief ritual as we made our way out of Hanalei bay. In this ritual, held at every departure to sea, we open the way for a safe sail, and bind our crew together. And at every arrival we close this door. In joining us for this custom belief, knowing that he will not be in San Francisco to close the door, we are all assured that Skipper Marc will one day join us again to close the door; a time we all look forward to.

Once again we are out in the Moana Sausau; feeling the wind in our hair, having the sea spray stinging our eyes, and searching the sky for the night’s first star. It feels familiar. It feels comfortable - I guess we have made it our home out here.

We would like to send a big fa’afetai tele lava to all the families, churches and friends who have made Hawaii a second home to us.

In Hawaii Hilo thank you to Afioa Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, Afioga Muagututi'a Lima Tamasese
Susuga Talauega, Ekalesia Aso Fitu in Hilo, Ekalesia CCCs in Kona and Ese Uhrley.

In Maui thanks to the Canoe Club, to Una and Paul.

In Moloka’i, thank you to Iese Tanielu, our host for the Hawaiian 'Ava Ceremony.

In Oahu, thank you to Afioga Afimutasi Gus Hunneman and his good lady, AOG Samoan Congregation with Pastor Hunkin, Chief Malietoatauasa Folosielu Avea and ausiva, Susuga George Meleisea and family, Nainoa Thomson, the crew and management of Hokule'a, 'Alo from Fagasa Am.Samoa, the Tokelauan community, the American Samoan community, the Samoan community, the Filipino community, Olelo Television with Galumalemana Molesi, Hanna and Siiva, Live Sene and family.

In Kauai, thank you to Cordelia “Talu” Chang, Pastor Joe Hanneman and the Samoan aiga.

And many more individuals known to God.

Lea ua manuia uma matou ma fiafia.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kauai - 11th July 2011

Position: Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaiian Islands

Last night our crew and Hine Moana crew (who sailed last year under Marc) all got together for a farewell dinner for Marc. It was really beautiful and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. We were joined by Dieter Paulman and his wife Hanna who came to pay their respects to Marc and relay their never-ending support to the crews. After a sumptuous meal, and great company, we made our way back to the va’a to ready ourselves for the next day: our departure ceremony.

Today we took our Samoan hosts and local community for a day sail: it’s our way to express our gratitude for all they have done for us. After the sail, we went to the departure ceremony held in the communal tents. Each crew member was introduced to our Hawaiian hosts and gifts of respect and gratitude were given. When all was done, we had dinner and made our way back to the va’a. Onboard Gaualofa we held an informal ava gathering for Marc’s departure and to welcome our new skipper, Jef.

We were also introduced to our new crew member Makanani from Hawaii, a pioneering voyager from Hokule’a. We hope to learn more of traditional voyaging and are sure he will become an influential cultural leader.


Sunday, July 10, 2011


Location: Maritime Education Center, Sand Island; Honolulu Oahu (Home of the Hokule’a)

3rd July 2011

The crew of Gaualofa was invited to church by Pastor Joe Hunkin and his congregation at the Church of Life Samoan Assembly of God. We were picked up by the church shuttle in the morning and made our way Waipahu where the service was held. The sermon was a powerful message that was delivered by the daughter of Pastor Joe. She spoke of getting out of your comfort zone. You had to be there to feel the message - the majority of us had wet checks at the end. After the service the church had us over for to’ona’i as well. The meal was just great as it was typical island food. We made our way back to Sand Island to take some delegates out for a day sail for the finale of the Kava Ocean Summit 2011. At the end of the day we were tired but satisfied.

4th July 2011

We started the day relaxing with a little maintenance and enjoying the company of our Samoan hosts. Kalolo and Fani went on an excursion to the North Shore in Haleiwa to swim with sharks. The invitation to swim with the sharks was extended by Stephanie “The-Shark-Lady”, who sailed with us from Hilo to Kualoa Bay. They took a boat out to the shark cage, which measures 8 by 8 metres, by 9 metres deep, and in two groups took turns swimming in the cages using snorkel gear. The sharks are attracted to the noise of the engine as crab/fishing boats come through the site. About 17 Galapagos sharks came close to the cage. They had an amazing time, which they kept on and on about!

Around 20:00 in the evening we took our Samoan hosts out to watch the American Independence Day fireworks out on the water in front of Waikiki Beach. It was such a spectacular sight – watching it from the moana we were all in awe. After the fireworks we made our way back to pier and had a bit of ava with a few of our Samoan hosts to wind down the day.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Oahu, Hawai'i - 29th July 2011

Although there was plenty to do, it seemed that much of the day today was spent working hard to eat! After the usual huge a la carte breakfast, we set in to cleaning up and reorganizing the va’a. There was plenty to clear out, clean out, and even throw out (not too much interest in the lettuce on board!), and we all settled into a good morning of reggae and deck cleaning to prepare for another linseed oil coating. After a bit of scrubbing and singing we were greeted by Live who is a local Samoan here in Oahu, and a massive feed for Gaualofa! So big was his generosity, that we needed help from the other crews to make a dent in everything! We were very grateful, especially the other va’a, and just when we finished it was time to get cleaned up for the fiafia on the west side of the island that evening. And what a fiafia it was!

Chief Sielu Avea, who earlier greeted us at Kualoa with his performance group, does shows at Ko Olina twice a week for the tourists, but this one was special. In perfectly manicured surroundings the Chief - who incidentally has starred in a 20 minute short film (fittingly called ‘Chief’) that has won heaps of awards including Sundance Film Festival honours - began his show by warming up the crowd and paying tribute to the crew of the Gaualofa. His humble and skilful mastery of performance was sharp straight through, from honouring Samoan traditions of ‘ava to paying respects to those before us. With a break to enjoy a traditional luau with roast pork cooked underground and fresh poi, everyone was well fed once again. The performers were especially happy to pay tribute to the voyage by doing their best, and it was nothing short of fantastic. They jumped from island to island doing impressions of the cultural traditions of the pacific from Aotearoa, Tonga, Rarotonga, Tahiti, Hawai’i, and finally Samoa. There was singing, dancing, haka, the whole lot all in one show. Everything was so entertaining; his humour especially cracked us off! They even organized a perfect sunset over the lagoon.

With a final Tau’alunga and the entire crew joining in on the outdoor stage, everyone roared applause at the ailao afi finale to conclude a very special fiafia evening. People were very kind and offered donations and even requests to come visit the crew, not only here but also in California when we arrive! With a final prayer after the show, we bid our farewells to the performers and Chief Sielu Avea, just in case they were not able to come out for a sail this weekend, and then headed back to the va’a. It was a beautiful night, and with warm hearts we went to sleep smiling.

The community here has truly shown what hospitality and kindness is all about. Their generosity and support has rivalled even the Hawai’ian hosts at times. We have been blessed by their assistance of food, fundraising, and alofa, and the pride they fill us with is immeasurable. To Siaosi, Live, Chief Sielu Avea, and High Chief Afimutasi Gus Hannemann, e kore e mutu nga mihi ki a koutou katoa nga whaanau whaanui o Gaualofa, fa’afetai tele atu.

Jef Ikenn