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, February 2, 2012

28 January - 1 February 2012

Position: N26°42.61‘ W113°33.97’ (At anchor in Punta Abreojos, waiting for the rest of the fleet to arrive).

The days have been gentle and beautiful. We have had some winds, we have had some sun, we have reached 10 knots at one point, we have had fun, and spirits are high. Now we wait.
We have come a long way, not figuratively (as we really haven’t) but as a crew and team. Our course is good, our minds are focused. As stated in an earlier blog from the Gaualofa last year: “The course of a canoe is not determined and maintained solely through one factor. It is not just the position of the foe, or angle of the sail that keeps a canoe on course, but the accumulation of changes (often small) to all factors which influence the path of a canoe carrying a va’a to its ultimate destination. A navigator cannot, on their own reach the ultimate destination, it is the work and responsibility of all crew members to ensure that the island is found”.

Having said this, our crew have come together very well on the start of this year’s journey. Half the crew is relatively new and our adopted Cook Island captain (Nick “the Samoan”) has been very happy with our progress and ability to keep us on our course. Having had some luck with the little winds around and our team work we have found ourselves unexpectedly a long way in front of the rest of the fleet and have had to come into a sleepy Mexican fishing town bay called Punta Abreojos to wait so we can all travel on to Cabo San Lucas together.

The magic of the va’a attracts. It always has and always will no matter what culture you come from and what language you speak, the va’a speaks to you. This morning when coming in we were approached by local fisherman and patrol boats, curious and friendly, they escorted us in to the safety of their harbor, navigating around the numerous fish and crab pot buoys that litter the entrance of the bay.

The mana of the va’a attracts. Just after anchoring at 7am, a young male greater frigate bird (or Atafa in Samoan) came out of the blue and landed at the top of our main sail. This was a good omen. Two minutes later it was joined by another. Nick the Samoan has said in all his years of voyaging he has never seen this happen. The birds then crapped on our newly washed decks and flew away. Thank you for your blessings….

Over the past few days while sailing here our routines have become more set. We have all become more comfortable with our new world for the next few months and each other. We have a simple existence on the va’a - we sail, we take shifts day and night, we clean, we read, we discover, we laugh, we exercise, we tease, we pray, we tire, we are happy. I find a lot of our time so far has been praying for wind.

I have found myself thinking at times how surreal some of this really is at times. This came to me one night while on shift and on deck at 2am in the morning writing a journal entry under the glow of my red light headlamp while seated in a comfy director-style camping chair, with a fresh breeze on my port side and the crystal clear sky above twinkling like rare jewels. I felt alive and very happy to be out on the water again. This was good for your soul. And I know as I wrote that entry I know that I was not the only one thinking at times of such thoughts. But I know what the ocean can do. And so far we have been very lucky, the sea has been kind with us. The weather has been kind, painfully so. I am not sure after some large swells, big winds, and open ocean to contend with that the feeling may be different. I think such challenges make you feel alive.

The alive feeling also comes from experiencing the marine life that you get at random moments during the day and night…sailing along on and having the silence of the night interrupted by the powerful breathing of whales, or cruising along in the sun, daydreaming and then having your field of view filled with travelling pods of dolphins or a few large whales…this is also good for the soul. This is one of the many reasons why we care and want to bring attention to our sea, our ocean, our Pacific.

The wind has really picked up here in this bay. It’s cold again. Tomorrow we sail to Bahia Ignacius to look for more Gray Whales to film. Apparently it is “heaving” with whales. The film crew accompanying the fleet should be stoked.

As I finish this blog entry, again we still wait……
Fa soifua
Gaualofa, Schannel and crew.

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