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, May 24, 2012

Wednesday 23rd May 2012

As I write this, the wind is beginning to really howl. Taleni is on the foe and really concentrating on keeping our course line straight to Samoa. We just picked up about four knots of speed to help push us closer to home. Should the wind stay like this, no doubt we will make it home on time!!

Yesterday we departed from the Cook Islands. Aitutaki and Rarotonga to be precise. And now, Gaualofa and her six sisters are on their way to Samoa. It is said we should arrive in Apia on Tuesday 29th May (Only five days away if you include the date change!) Everybody on board is highly excited to be going home. To see our family and friends and to have 100 of our new friends on our home ground. I can imagine emotions will be flying when we finally arrive. To get to Samoa earlier than the said date would be absolutely awesome, later would be quite disappointing (not to mention the organizers on the ground may kill us, he he he), so its 110% concentration over the next few days!!

Now I believe there has been little blog updating on our behalf over the past week or so. Possibly nothing since reaching Aitutaki, so here is a small run down of the Gaualofa Gossip!
I will start with our arrival in to Aitutaki, our captain Nick’s home land. The girls turned Hine Moana into an all female crew (plus Magnus) and sailed together from Bora Bora to the Cooks. The sail went beautifully with us girls sighting land first! Sorry guys!

In Aitutaki we were greeted by what seemed to be the whole island! It was great to even see all the school kids in uniform awaiting us! It will surely be an image we won’t forget, and even better, a moment they surely won’t forget! We had a lovely welcoming ceremony and in the evening, we Voyagers put together our first small concert for the community. Each canoe had their chance to speak to the community on the Environmental issues we have seen and experienced during the voyage and perform a song or dance. For our first concert it was a huge success, and something we can work on in each port!

Our second day in Aitutaki started a little sad, Cousin Charlie had to go home early. (We miss you on the canoe Charlie, can’t wait to see you in Samoa!!) After our goodbye, it was a day sail to a motu that is apparently on the top beaches lists! One Foot Island is what it is called, or Tapu Ai Ta’i. And beautiful it was, although the road there and back was somewhat stressful! If you think navigating through some of Samoa’s roads can be tricky with the numerous speed humps and potholes, this was something of comparison! Coming home especially as we had the suns reflection over the water, it sure made finding the coral heads a challenge… even more so because we were supposed to be filming. It was definitely super hard work keeping the canoes in a line when everyone’s trying to dodge the coral!

For our final morning in Aitutaki, we had everybody from the canoe and numerous school kids bless Te Au o Tonga. The canoe that was the inspiration for all our canoes. Without her, there possibly wouldn’t even be a Voyage right now, so for that we are forever grateful, and hopefully one day soon she will be restored and back in the water!

So we left on Wednesday for what was supposed to be just an overnight voyage, to be in Rarotonga by around midday. Well let’s just say if we steer as well as we did on that leg… we may be a little late to Independence! It’s truly amazing how 3 hours can really change your course direction! Lesson I hope is learnt…

Luckily, we still weren’t the last canoes in port! While we were about 9 hours (plus) behind schedule, there were two canoes that we managed to overtake and beat to the island. With sailing, you never know what can happen! It was unfortunate though, that our Samoan community waiting for us had to be told not to wait for us, that we’d be too late.
So Gaualofa arrived in Rarotonga at about 1:30am, and was up and ready for the school kids to arrive that same morning at 9am! School kids of all ages came down to visit us, all very eager to find out about our voyage and to have a look around the canoes.

Our afternoon was filled with a march by the fleet through town and then another concert to follow. In honour of our country and the Samoan community living in Rarotonga, the Gaualofa girls thought it would be fitting to don our traditional wear and walk in our Siapo. What a treat it was the next day to see some of our smiling faces, together with the Fijian boys (also in traditional wear) on the front cover of the local newspaper!

Saturday morning was supposed to be short sails for the community but due to bad weather, we had an open day at the harbour instead. Once again there were kids everywhere! To be out sailing or not, these kids were just excited to be on the canoes! There was a big group from the local sailing club ready with life jackets even. The kids really are the future of the canoes so it’s great to see so much excitement amongst the youth!

It rained all day on the Sunday, so a few of us retreated away in Sala’s Aunty Anna’s house. It sure was lovely to be in a home, warm and dry while the rain was pouring down outside. Thanks Aunty Anna for having us.

The rest on Sunday gave us all a big burst of energy to return to the canoes and work towards getting Gaualofa ready for her voyage home. So Tuesday morning there were a few sad goodbyes. Some crew changes on the other canoes meant saying goodbye to quite a few of our friends. But the life of a Voyager means that we have to move on! Just the past hour we broke the 500 Nm mark on the road home!! A low pressure system nearby means that we have great winds… but rumour has it that as we get closer home and after the low passes, it may ease the wind of quite a lot. Hopefully it truly is a rumour… and the next weather report we get shows us good news!
Well there you go, the news from our end. I can’t wait until we sight land! Everybody’s talking about what they’re missing from home, and getting super excited for the UB40 concert!! Samoan 50th Independence is such an exciting time for us all to be coming home to.

So until our next blog, this is Jayde Leota signing out, and looking forward to coming home!

Lots of love to ALL my family and friends,

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