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.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Riding Home on White Horses

Position: S 20*03.982’, W 169*27.003’

Currently on Gaualofa waves are splashing up on deck, the Main sail is on its first reef, the Mizzen is on its second reef and we’re still flying at 14 knots! According to the Beaufort Wind Scale the current wind conditions experienced by Gaualofa are in a range of force 5 to 7. Translated, this means we have winds gusting between 20 to 30 knots!! The sea state can be described as having wave heights between 2 to 4 metres, many white horses and white foam from breaking waves being blown in streaks along the direction of the wind! In Gaualofa crew terms, the ocean looks beautiful and is perfect for the 22 metre surfboard, Gaualofa!

I am writing this blog after just stepping off from the foe. The adrenaline is pumping! To stand at the foe and look around 360 degrees and see white horses and large swells rolling ahead of us and coming up from behind us is exhilarating. It’s a sight and a feeling I will never forget. Pure energy is all around us. On our current watch, the 9am to 12pm watch, we (John, Fa’apa’u, Titaua and I) are competing to see who can surf the longest while maintaining course! Fa’apa’u is winning; he just caught a 10 second run, leaving the rest of us yelling “Wooooohooooo!” and laughing as he surfed down the face of the wave. Gaualofa hummed with speed during that run, it’s a lovely sound to hear. I have a feeling those sleeping down below will join us up on deck soon, it must be hard to sleep through all our cheers and laughing (especially with lunch around the corner). We are excited to bring Gaualofa home riding on white horses!

As for the rest of the fleet, two va’as can be seen on the horizon around us. The fleet is trying it’s best to travel together so that we can arrive united for the festivities in Samoa. As stated in several of the other blogs, we are now being accompanied by Fa’afaite, our sister from Tahiti. It’s lovely to have the va’as united again.

It is amazing to know that we are only days away from Samoa, especially since Gaualofa has not been home in almost a year and a half. Our time in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands was rich in culture and heritage. We learned about the master navigator Tupaia who showed Captain Cook several islands in French Polynesia as well as a route to get to New Zealand. We had several workshops where we discussed the role of the va’a in the times of our ancestors and how the va’as can become an important part of our current society in bringing communities and people together and in preserving our environment by reducing carbon emissions. We spoke to both primary and secondary school kids to explain the purpose of the voyage and inspire interest in future sailors. We had ceremonies on several maraes in Tahiti, including Taputapuatea, where we left a stone carved by the Gaualofa crew. The islands, cultures and people of Polynesia are all so different, yet, so similar. We are happy to be back in Polynesia and are grateful for the hospitality shown by our families since our return. Fa’afetai tele lava.

Gaualofa is continuing to sail and surf her way home. We are looking forward to seeing family and friends and celebrating the 50th year of Independence from New Zealand. On a personal note, I can’t help but think of my grandmother, Salafa’aniusila Sale Fairholt, whom I was named after. She was born during a time when Samoa was in review of their laws under New Zealand rule, hence the name, “Salafa’aniusila”, or “Rules from New Zealand”. It gives me great pride to carry her name aboard Gaualofa with me into Samoa, and to celebrate independence. I know if she was here today, she too would be very proud of Samoa and how far it has come as an independent country. Malo le taumafai Samoa and we are happy and proud to be home in our Samoan Islands soon. We are 380Nm away.

Fa’afetai tele and Fa Soifua,
Salafa’aniusila McGuire

1 comment:

  1. i have a dream. i have seen the promised land and it can wait til i'm ready...god willing.

    i will forever treasure the memories of the time spent with my lady of the sea, my mother ocean and my Gaualofa family but i am where i am supposed to be now for the sake of my family.

    Take care and much love...Robbie