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.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Farewell Lonesome George

Talofa everyone,

We are speeding away at 10knots today, lovely and sunny outside :) The crew is with high spirits and are looking forward to our daily rehearsal of our skit and songs for the Arts Festival.

Now to paint you a rough picture - we have sailed in the past 3 shifts (9 hours) the same amount of miles that we have done in the last 30 hours. Top speed recorded was close to 20knots which Koleni, Taleni, Kalolo and Kim are quite happy to boast about. Gaualofa is truly slicing through the water like melted butter and positioning herself quite well towards the front of the fleet together with Hine Moana and Marumaru Atua. We are very thankful for the sudden change in weather, the whole day today felt like the doldrums with no wind and scorching sun. But now it’s a totally different scenario that we are more than happy to adapt to. These are the winds we were praying for the get us to Honiara on time for the Opening of the Pacific Arts Festival 2012.

It only seems like yesterday that we departed from the shores of Espiritu Santo Island, our last stop in Vanuatu and already we are only 371Nm away from Honiara. Luganville was a lovely little town located on a very big island. It was very sad to have spent only one day as the island had so much to offer in terms of beaches, pristine blue water holes, world class diving, delicious food and most importantly, the people were top class lovely if there is such a description. It is part of the voyage, to be flexible with schedules and to make the most of whatever time you are given. Jayde, Kim, Fani and I did just that when we heard news that we had until 5pm. We immediately hopped in a taxi for a ride to see the land, to visit the world famous blue holes then to explore the town and taste the local cuisine. One site we didn’t have enough time for was the Coolidge wreck but that will be done many times when we return to Santo one day.

On our last night in town the SBS news was reporting on Lonesome George, the last remaining Tortoise species from the island of Pintu in the Galapagos Island group. I should mention that Lonesome George had a special place in all our hearts here on Gaualofa. We first heard of George on our way from Cocos Island to Galapagos when James gave us the run down. George was an extra special giant tortoise because he was over 100 years old and the last one of his kind left in the world. Most of the fleet together with the Gaualofa crew got to see and meet George when we were in Santa Cruz a few months ago. We must all commend the great work of the passionate people at the Galapagos National Park and Research Centre. For many years there have been many attempts to cross breed George with other tortoise species in the hope that his blood line will survive. You can imagine our shock when we heard that he passed away. It’s even sadder to think that there will be no more Georges in this world. Tuesday 26th June 2012 another species has been wiped away, never to be seen again by anyone.

Our message is simple from Gaualofa, what you do out of love will live forever “E leai se gaumata’u, na’o le Gaualofa” It is more important now that our actions reflect our love for our fellow living creatures, our ocean, our lands, our culture, our children.

Rest in Peace Lonesome George, you might not have been able to pass down your blood line but you have made us want to better ambassadors of the environment and living creatures.

Tofa Soifua
Tasha and Gaualofa Crew

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