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, June 8, 2012

"Theoretically, it's Possible"

“Theoretically, it’s possible..” said the captain, almost in disbelief, as Samoa’s Gaualofa followed Hinemoana and the other va’a into the calm Fijian waters, jagged peaks shrouded in mist rising about us, a mere two and a half days after Sunday’s church service at our home port of Apia. The prayers we could feel from all of Samoa for the safe and rapid passage of her environmental flagship had obviously been answered, as we traversed the 500 nautical mile gap with a steady breeze and constant speed of around 10 knots; “Theoretically, it’s possible,” Nick had said, “but it just doesn’t actually happen in real life!” Indeed, we were all a little surprised at how swift our trip had been between leaving the dusky shape of Apolima behind us and sighting the misty silhouette of Taveuni just two mornings later, already in Fiji. 

This short leg of our journey was not, however, entirely without incident: a number of the crew of the Gaualofa were put under the weather, in this manner or that, and it was only because of the unity of the crew and the consideration and respect that they hold for each other that all shifts were covered and we were able to stay on course each day and night. My own particular sickness had me almost entirely below deck between shifts, trying to stop my stomach from mimicking the motion of the ocean swells; a year away from the va’a had revoked whatever claim I could have made to having a voyage-hardened stomach. Others were out with other ailments, most of which seemed to eventually cure themselves upon anchoring in the small bay of Buresala on the island of Ovalau yesterday evening, where the fleet of Te Mana o Te Moana will receive the generosity of the local family of George and Tina Patterson for a feast tonight. The palm-lined shore, thickly wooded hilltops and misty peak south of Ovalau make a majestic sight from within the bay. 

Tomorrow we will receive the full official welcome of the people of Fiji in the old capital of Levuka, including the important opportunity to share our message with all of the school children of the island. The effort and generosity already shown us by the people of these islands has been amazing, and as I wait in anticipation of tonight’s feast, my imagination stretches to perceive the full extent of tomorrow’s festivities. 

From all aboard Gaualofa, we ask you all in Samoa and abroad for your continued prayers and support for our cause, for our health, and for our safe journey to spread this message of unity and environmental responsibility through the Pacific.

Bruce and the Gaualofa crew

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