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, February 29, 2012

Fealofani Bruun - 29 February 2012

Position: 07°48.74’ N / 093°00.18

My shift is on at the moment and it consists of Jayde, who is currently on the foe, Schannel who’s jamming away with the other boys and Faapau who is keeping an eagle eye on Jayde and her steering.

Amazing fact: Faapau can eat 10 boiled eggs within thirty mins.
Funny moment: High density of bioluminescence in our current position- Taleni goes to the side one night to pee and exclaims outloud ‘Oooh Christmas lights!’
Favorite meal so far: freshly baked scones, baked eggs and herbed tomatoes (breakfast).
Favorite meal done by crew: sushi, seared I’a, oka, fai ai fe’e, sashimi ma le sua i’a.
Best shift time: 0300-0600- watch amazing sunrises and being there for breakfast.

Faafetai tele lava Samoa mo le taupuaiga, ua malosi uma matou le auva’a. Mange tak Dad for alt! Savner dig meget isaer med turen ned til Galapagos!


Fealofani Bruun ma le auva’a Gaualofa

27th February 2012 - The KTC&S Show

Position: N 09°49.852’, W 093°24.212’;

The KTC&S Show

As I type this blog, the wind is blowing ~25 knots outside and the sea is rolling. We’ve reefed our Main Sail (reduced the surface area) and will probably be reefing the Mizzen Sail shortly. It’s a bit difficult typing in this weather, not to mention sitting up straight in my seat…but challenges are fun!

It’s been twelve days since we’ve left Cabo San Lucas, yet it feels like we’ve only been at sea for less than a week. It amazes me just how easy it is to lose track of time out here on the ocean! I believe it has to do with how busy we keep ourselves on and off our watches. As mentioned in some of the previous blogs, we have three watch crews. They are as follows:

Team 1: Kalolo, Taleni, Charlie, Sala
Team 2: Fani, Fa’apa’u, Schannel, Jayde
Team 3: John, Brynne, James, Tasha, Robbie

Our days revolve around our watch schedules and the tone of our day is often set by which watch we have. For example, a 3am to 6am shift usually means you sleep from 6am to 12pm (12pm being when the next shift would start and of course, lunch). The 6am to 9am shift usually means you are up, ready for breakfast and for the day ahead. The dynamics of each watch are different. I think of my watch as “The Kalolo, Taleni, Charlie and Sala Show” (“KTC&S Show” for short) because we are always laughing and if other crew members happen to be up at the same time, they are laughing alongside us, at the things we do or the stories being told, and not to mention the non-stop singing by Taleni (he’s been nick-named radio). On the KTC&S Show, we have Kalolo and Taleni who are both part of the Gaualofa core crew and have a wealth of knowledge about sailing and celestial navigation. We also have Uncle Charlie (as everyone calls him) who sailed from Hawaii to San Diego last year. Lastly, we have myself, Sala, the rookie on the KTC&S Show.

One of the highlights from the KTC&S Show over the past couple of days was “Squid Night.” On Squid Night, the KTC&S Show collected 36 squids on the deck in a span of 3 hours (12am to 3am shift)! The squid were flying onto the deck from all directions! We all took turns making rounds on the boat, almost like an Easter egg hunt, keeping our eyes peeled in the dark of night for the slimy, eight legged creatures. At one point, Taleni got hit in the leg by a flying squid and then less than a minute later one flew into my arm, causing me to scream like a school girl. The rest were found squirming around on the deck…it’s pretty amazing that so many accumulated on the deck in one night! The following day we made fai ai fe’e for lunch…which was a hit with the whole crew!

To give a bit more details about the characters to help in imagining the show: Kalolo acts like a wise old man and he loves to tell stories and give explanations, however, only those that know him well enough can tell which are true (at this point in the voyage the whole crew knows him well enough, so we are constantly laughing at is tala pepelo). Taleni is the youngest on our va’a, but is also the biggest and strongest. Taleni takes on a lot of responsibility being the strongest on the va’a and is always there to help when his strength is needed. It gives me great comfort having him on my watch. Uncle Charlie is a timeless jokester, who can get a crowd laughing, sometimes by only uttering a few words. Sala takes too much time to explain.

During another episode of the KTC&S Show, “Apple Soda Night”, I spent almost an hour (which felt like two) arguing with Kalolo and Taleni about apple soda. After spending my obligatory 45 minutes on the foe I sat down to take in the beauty of the night and study stars. My silence was quickly interrupted by Taleni and Kalolo (Uncle Charlie was on the foe). “Sala, fa’amolemole, alu e aumai le fagu igu apu lae i totonu le kula.” I would respond with “E le fia igu a’u le mea ga, alu oe ma aumai pe a fia igu.” Back and forth this went on for almost an hour! “Se fa’amolemole Sala, e le ika Lole ia oe pe a aumai.” It was funny because I was promised sashimi, oka, sushi and a fofo if only I went to get the bottle of apple soda from Lole’s forbidden cooler. It was like a scene out of the Bible, except instead of the forbidden apple, it was the forbidden apple soda. Uncle Charlie stood-by laughing as the bantering went on. No one drank apple soda that night. Thank goodness the following day we had that last bottle of apple soda for lunch, or I’m sure I would have heard about it again the next night.

We have had several guest appearances on the KTC&S Show. One of our favourites is the pair of dolphins that have visited us on three different night watches. Their presence is known by the spouting we hear off the side of the boat. Two nights ago, they gave us a spectacular performance due to the bioluminescence (plankton) in the water. The figures of the dolphins were highlighted with bright yellow (almost neon) lights, created by the bioluminescence, so we could see their bodies and their trails in the water zigzagging around each other and trying to swim side by side with Gaualofa. It was more amazing than any light show at Disney World. Our most favourite guest so far is definitely Mother Nature’s Strong Wind (~20knots). When Strong Wind shows up our time on the foe is exhilarating and flies by! The force that you feel on the foe can be compared to walking a pit-bull that has just seen a cat or riding a wild horse; you have to be careful not to let the foe run loose!

So there you have it, a little glimpse into the day to day activities on Gaualofa. I’m going to have to wrap this one up, because the KTC&S Show will be starting up again in 5 minutes! We have the 9pm to 12am shift tonight and Strong Wind is still blowing! Stay tuned…there’s more to come! We miss and think of you all often!

Fa soifua and alofa tele atu,
Sala McGuire and Gaualofa crew

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Natasha Fabricius

Position: N11 59.945 W97 01.067

Its taking a considerable amount of time to formulate and write concise thoughts on paper. It’s a bit sad to admit that perhaps my thoughts rely heavily on my fingers touching a keyboard. Fact is: It is what it is so bear with me while I attempt to scribble and slash at the page!

For a newbie voyager leaping into the great unknown, one has to jot down a few goals and expectations as an attempt to visualize the situation that you have thrown yourself into. Many of these goals are common across the board such as learning traditional sailing practices & celestial navigation... One that was unknown to me before boarding Gaualofa over a month ago, a goal that was quite evident a couple of days out at sea was the need to remove oneself from technologies and the distractions of modern life. To make a conscious decision to not spend ones day in front of the laptop, not to surf online for hours, not to watch TV, not to play with the new mobile phone, and instead gain patience to sit quietly and observe nature and somehow decipher what it is saying or just enjoy the presence of it.

The splashing of the waves, the gentle or abrupt rocking of the va’a which could signify calm waters/less winds (or just the lack of skill on the foe). The feel of the wind in your face, the fluttering of the Samoan flag as the winds pick up, the luffing of the genneker when the vaa is angled incorrectly. For all of us, it is our life’s goal on the va’a to master the art of the genneker. Late nights star gazing and identifying constellations which in turn can reveal various things like our position or where the sun will rise or even the time. All these minute things, plus your everyday activities of eating, sleeping, singing, bathing or swimming manage to fill our days on the canoe quite effortlessly.

Thus far this journey has been many things: exciting and adventurous to sail 1000s of miles on a 22mx6m canoe YIKES!! To be involved and get a chance to be featured in a documentary Our Blue Canoe YEEAH! It is also a proud and humbling moment in one’s life to have the opportunity to learn and practice the traditions and ways of our ancestors and to stand strong in asserting the message of Saving of our Pacific Ocean. We must first have the courage to change within before attempting to change anything else.

For the technology hungry geek I must admit (whether with trepidation or appreciation) that I am not missing the technological conveniences I am reliant upon on land and I am not rushing home to get lost in it as well. And with mornings like these who would want to rush anywhere.

Natasha Fabricius and Gaualofa Crew

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jayde Leota

Saturday 25th February 2012

Current Position:
N 11°50.717
W 096°55.043

One Day until Lole’s Birthday
Four Days until my Birthday!

So my blog entry was due yesterday, but due to excessive procrastination and a new found love of trying to learn everything I can about celestial navigation (possibly because I was supposed to be writing the blog?) I am a day late. But this we must move on from. So here goes, my first blog for the Samoan Voyaging Society.

Topic of my blog…
My ‘Bests’ of the voyage so far!


1800 – 2100 (6-9pm)
The sunsets we experience on board are breathtaking, and this shift means that we get to be with the sun the whole way down. Soon after the sun tucks away for the day, the stars grace us with their presence. Shapes and signs that show us how to get home, forming all sorts of pictures of which I want to learn as many as possible while we are out here on the water.

...Not to mention, this shift, starts off with dinner!!


With Lole’s amazing cooking it’s very hard to pick just one meal as my favourite. Each meal seems to outdo the previous. Every mealtime I look forward to tasting what Lole has whipped up for us. He can take the simplest ingredients and turn them into a meal that’s finger licking good.

With that said, for me, nothing can beat ‘Mango Day’. Once the mango supply that we acquired from Mexico came up on deck it was mangos all round. Yellow sticky fingers and mouths all round. Juice running down our hands to our elbows. We ate them dreaming of Samoa in November, when the Flame tree leaves turn their brilliant red and the roadside is flooded with juicy sweet mango stands underneath the very trees that bare its fruit.


The ‘jumping’ out of the water by the Bat Manta Rays at Cabo Pulmo, Mexico. A sight I have never ever heard of. I have seen singular Eagle Rays jumping out of the water every now and then (on a lucky day) in Samoa, but this was much more. At one stage, I swear we were watching a continuous ‘popping’ of Mantas out of the water for two to three minutes. It felt like during this time there must have thirty to fifty Mantas jumping out of the water only to slap and splash back down on the water. A purely entertaining sight!


To me, this is my favourite sail to use, but it is also the one I dislike the most. If I come upstairs to see that this sail is up, my gut churns a little, I get nervous and anxious to when it will be my turn on the foe. When this sail is up, it can catch a lot of wind to drive our va’a forward, but a wrong move by the steerer and she will come crashing down. In strong winds, you can feel the whole va’a shake from her force as you try and correct your wrong. This sail has been mentioned in other blogs, I guess showing her significance not to just myself, but also my fellow voyagers. The culprit!? THE GENNEKER

A beautifully intimidating white sail that flies high at the bow of our canoe. There is no faking; there is no flying under the radar with this sail. You can either use the sail and feel where the wind is supposed to be, or you can’t. There is no hiding. Once she’s down, she’s down.
My favourite sail, but my most despised, all at once.


Song: Charlie Darwin
Artist: The Low Anthem

A beautiful song that I find myself listening to or humming along to in my head, as I stare out into the blue or up at the twinkling night sky, contemplating what I want to get out of this journey. As we head to the Galapagos Islands, it also seems fitting that my favourite song at the moment is titled ‘Charlie Darwin’. It’s one of those songs though, that the instant I hear it I am relaxed and dreaming along the lyrics, trying to find meaning.


The love and support we have behind us, not only from home, but also from the new family we made in San Diego and at every port we have stopped at is what helps keep our spirits high. This journey seems to touch so many people. A simple voyage that means so much to us all!
The thing I love about the journey so far is my appreciation of how much I love being a Samoan. The overwhelming sense of family and pride we have. No matter where you live, what family you are from, when it comes down to it, we are Samoans. We laugh at ourselves, we laugh more at each other. We love our food, usually its quantity over quality. Family is family, Samoan is Samoan, the blood runs thick.


To finish this, I want to share a quote that I came upon this morning. With thirty minutes to spare before my shift, I picked up my book to squeeze in a few more chapters. Towards the end of the last chapter that I read was a famous quote:

“You must be the change you want to see in the world” -Ghandi

What a fitting quote to come up as we sail along on this journey.
So as I continue to travel on this very unique experience I will keep this quote in my mind. Taking in every experience as it comes, the good and the bad. To learn and observe as much as I can soak up!

Opps its dinner time, mmm I can see a fruit pie in the makings!!

Thanks for your time!

Alofa atu,
Jayde Leota and the Gaualofa Crew

Friday, February 24, 2012

N1212.44’ W09708.95

Since we left San Diego a month ago it’s been smooth sailing.

Good practice for our new cadets. I have to say everyone has been improving, especially Rob, Jayde and Sala.

Tonight 30 knot winds and up, with big waves are forecasted. In any bad weather it’s always best to be prepared well beforehand.

The va’a and its occupants will truly be tested on their seamanship.

We adjust rigging and secure away loose items. We’re also distributing weight evenly between the two hulls concentrating the weight on stern center boards.

Safety for the crew is of utmost importance and first thing is wearing a lifejacket.

Tonight I know that we will be flying of up to 18 knots or more, waves of up to 8 meters crashing and breaking over the deck. I have faith in our va’a our skipper and my crew mates.

Best thing to do when sailing in foul weather is let the adrenaline rush and enjoy yourself.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

N 13 23.25 W 098 01.024

Riddle of the navigators.

When morning comes I will go.
To he who knows I will show.
Guidance is the light of glow.
For when morning comes I will go.
Who am I?

Permit to converse me with you about this voyage and of a voyage of long ago.

For thousands and thousands of years they [navigators] moved their thoughts silently thru the heavens, accumulating a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and through the power of observation harnessed the language of the stars and the power of the winds, understanding this, it gave them sails to navigate the vastness of the ocean, bridging the shores of each land fall. A feat of great magnitude that gave life to every inhabitable island in the South Pacific.

This was and is their legacy, and Samoa played a major role in navigating and discovering these tiny dots of islands in the Pacific. Gaualofa, arriving first in Hilo in June last year, we discovered that hundreds of years before ,Pili and Pa’au from Samoa discovered Hawaii, Upolu point in the south side of Hilo is a name that bears witness to this discovery and its mentioned in the historical chants in Hawaii. It’s a cultural heritage that we on the Gaualofa are proud of.

Leaving New Zealand for French Polynesia last year we were privileged to have Tua Pitman and Jack Thatcher on board,known navigators, they taught us how to navigate with the stars, with only months at sea the power to observe was limited against a back drop of our fore bears who for thousands of years learnt to converse with the heavens and their natural surroundings.

I’ve come to understand that navigation is a language of harmony, honed through wisdom and understanding not only of their environmental surrounding but of the heavenly bodies and the canoe embodies the mana of man and nature conversing as one. This for me has become a voyage of discovery and rediscovery, for every second breath I take and for you in that matter is from the ocean, the ocean also is home to a vast marine life. I’m no navigator nor a scientist but I am conversing with you in the hope in the of the mana [spirit] of old in a language of harmony and understanding of the fragile environment we now live in. In light of this, it’s like giving of yourself for someone you love for a better hope for the future. On GAUALOFA the young lives that have given up their time to represent Samoa on this historical voyage do so with pride, with the hope for a better tomorrow.

Gaualofa has been home for quite some time now, learning to take care of her and each other has become a metaphor, in taking care of our ocean, we take care of each other. Dreams are the language of the heart, to Dieter Paulman of Okianos foundation encountering a conversation with a white whale set him on a course guided by the stars and a fleet of seven canoes , lives of so many different nations from the Pacific are fused in a language of harmony and understanding a hope of a healthier ocean for a better future.

To those who dared to dream and believe for so long Joe Annendale, Harry Paul, Tony Hill to mention a few names gave birth to Gaualofa and the Samoa Voyaging Society thank you for your courage and your determination , Samoan is voyaging again.

In the beginning of my story was a riddle, with a question, who am I. Perhaps in another conversation, you would share your view . I look forward to conversing with you again.

Fa’afetai John Misky and the Gaualofa crew

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Position: N 14°53.140, W 100°49.428

About 100nm off the coast of Southern Mexico: We are definitely in the tropics now- every day we seem to shed more layers of clothing. Now are down to shirts and shorts all day long- even at night.

Some crew is now sleeping on deck at night- it’s simply too hot and sweaty below, despite the wind scoops we have put up to funnel water through the hulls…

We are rationing our water as we may not be able to replenish for 2 more weeks until we get to Galapagos. No rain is forecast, thus, our allowance is only 1.2 litres per person per day, which is tough given the heat.

But being in the warmth of the tropics again does have its benefits. On Sunday we met up with our sister ship, Hine Moana. We turned into the wind, dropped the sails and all went for a swim in the ocean. Nothing around us, except ocean and sky, and 3000 m of seawater below.

We then ate a beautiful salad lunch, served by our chef, Lole.

Other notable events in the past few days include seeing a small insectivorous bat flying around the va’a as we ate breakfast yesterday. It was obviously blown off-course and, sadly, with limited chances of survival.

Last night the sky lit up briefly as a huge shooting star entered the atmosphere above us. It was as if we were under a huge spotlight. Amazing.

At 7am today we broke our fishing draught as we caught a 3m long sailfish! Jayde says it’s because she and Charlie kissed the lures early this morning; and then the dolphins lured the sailfish to the hook. As I write, the crew are preparing sashimi and oka, filleting the fish. I am sure that Lole will find ways to make this fish last as long as possible, even though we have run out of ice.

I should describe our daily schedule a bit. We have 3 shifts or “watches” on board. Each watch is composed of 4 to 5 crew. And we do 3hr “rolling watches”, that is 3 hrs on, then 6 hrs off, then 3 hrs on - day and night.

So, for example, my watch, which includes John, our watch captain and master fisherman, Robbie, Natasha, Brynne and me, was on watch from 9pm to midnight. Then we had a break till 9am, and were on until noon. Another break. Then we’re on again from 6pm to 9pm tonight and so on.

The main tasks of the watches are to steer the va’a, keep a look out for hazards such as other vessels, trim the sails and tack if necessary and plot our position on the map.

Every day the 6am to 9am watch scrubs the decks and cleans the solar panels. The watch on duty after every meal washes the dishes and cleans up the deck area. We all take turns helping Lole prepare the meals - although he must take full credit for the “design” of each meal.

If you are getting the idea that food is an important part of the voyage- you would be correct. We relish our meals: roasts, soups, curries, chillies, omelettes, even cakes. These meals are vital for morale. They make us feel spoilt and make up for other things we miss on board.

Although we all eat heartily most of us are not putting on any weight- steering the va’a takes a lot of energy!

So, the days here pass something like this: go on watch, eat, have a nap, wash with seawater, read, go on watch, nap, eat, or various combinations of the above in different order.

Every 12.30pm we get a briefing from Captain Nick on current weather conditions, any concerns, for example, changes in the sail plan and so on. And then it is story time- each crew takes it in turns to tell a story.

We also learn new Samoan songs that we will sing at ports of call. Most of us spend the hot afternoon hours trying to avoid the blistering sun.

The days pass by and we forget which day it is. Our whole world is 22m long and 6.5m wide. Luckily we all get on with each other - most of the time, anyway. Inevitably there are occasional differences in opinion and words are spoken, but in a world this small where everyone relies on each other there is no room for long-term grievances.

Morale remains high despite the heat, the light winds and the slow going. It’s time now to eat some fresh sashimi and oka.

Alofa tele to all from James and the Gaualofa crew