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.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Storming to Samoa

Gaualofa is heading home.

Singing in the rain, The Black Washing Machine, and the Niue Ngoio. We will explore these statements later… first is an important message from our sponsors…

Va’a Gaualofa is sailing home to celebrate a 50 year milestone for one of the Pacific’s favourite nations, Samoa. Seven Polynesian Voyaging Va’a will make a grand entrance to Apia harbour on the eve of the celebration of Samoa independence.

Two historic events for modern Polynesia, one celebrates the journey of a nation, the other the physical journey across te moana nui o kiva.

Seven Va’a carrying a message to protect the future of all humankind, sounds surreal doesn’t it. Almost Hollywood scripted, sometimes nature or destiny “interferes” with all sorts of coincidence and our voyage feels that way. Scripted.

How did we know that 7 Vaka of a Tipairua design from Fakarava would complete the legend of Ta’aroa and his 7 sons. How could we know that a Samoa tear would be shed as a 30 year dream was fulfilled as Gaualofa sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. How did we know that we had to be first alongside the dock so a 100 year old lady would step aboard Gaualofa in Aitutaki.

This is our destiny just as it is that we are here to share a message to protect our ocean from plastic waste, from noise pollution, to reduce acidification (google this one) to protect the fish on our reef, and to know that the largest ocean on earth filters every second breath for every human being. Phew there.. I have said it in a nut shell…but it is important.

So here we are sailing along south of Niue…no we are storming along, the weather is grey, the ocean is dark ,the night is ink black, there are no stars. In front of us somewhere is Niue, we are racing along, the sea spray shoots out green under our starboard light. I am in the warmth of the Captain’s cabin, outside it is raining. Filtering into the cabin are songs of Samoa, a large happy Samoan is on the fo’e. Taleni is singing in the rain, the wind blows his voice towards me, just behind his is another merrily singing In the rain, it is Salai. Two Samoa warriors of the ocean content in the knowledge they are heading home, despite the stormy weather, they sing to the wet heavens of good times soon to come.

I fill in for the crew on John’s shift, I haven’t been on the fo’e for quite some time, so I gotta get the feel back and do it quickly because astern a dark shadow approaches carrying wind and rain. Suddenly we are overtaken by wet blackness, the dark ocean rushes towards us from all directions, occasionally foaming white just before she slams into the hulls. It is dark and wet. I figure this is what my black jeans feel like in the washing machine, the lid goes down and its lights out. Sloshed around left and right, white wash the only light you see. Black jeans.

I peer ahead. Knowing the island is less than 10 miles away, we are surfing down the waves at 14 knots I am getting a little anxious to say the least. None of us wants to go bump in the night, not into a large rock (Niue) anyway. A Gogo (Ngoio) bird appears on our starboard side, her white under wings glowing in the green light. Showing me the way, then another joins in the parade, another sign of nature helping us along the way. If you take time to reflect …. when have you been lost in any sense or simply needed help and nature has come to lend a hand. Remember?

Mother nature has always been there for us, now it’s our watch, it’s our time to be there for her.


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