SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras: Executive President Mariana Almeida will officially welcome the Pacific Islander Blue Canoe fleet in Galápagos

The History

Pacific Voyaging began when the world’s first seafarers set off in vaka moanas, ocean canoes, from Asia, most likely Taiwan, in the hopes of finding other lands. They found New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands first. Thousands of years later, the ancestors continued their journey and within 2500 years they reached the more remote Hawaiian Islands, Rapanui, and Aotearoa, establishing communities at each location with the root crops, fruit seeds, and domestic animals they carried on their voyage.

Night sky ©

Our brave voyaging ancestors used only Mother Nature to guide them on their journey. Using only the sun, the stars, wind, waves, clouds, and wildlife as guides, they successfully sailed across the Pacific Ocean and settled our lands. This way of navigating was on the brink of extinction until one individual began to revive the artful skill. Pius Mau Piailug, a Micronesian navigator, afraid of his people losing this skill as a result of westernization, brought his skills to the Polynesian Voyaging Society. He, along with his protégé, HawaiinNainoa Thompson, began to revive the skill. In 1976, they successfully sailed the Hokule’a. Today, we continue reviving this cultural tradition. The crews on our seven vaka moanas learn this skill, honing the craft throughout their journey. We feel honoured to continue in the wake of our ancestors, learning from their ancient wisdom, and venturing forth into the future with a new mission of healing our ocean and a rejuvenated Te Mana o Te Moana, the Spirit of the Sea.

The Goal: Move your paddle silently through the water

We are a group of Pacific Islanders who have come together from many nations, sailing as one across the Pacific Ocean. We are voyaging to strengthen our ties with the sea, renew our commitment to healthy ecosystems for future generations, and to honour our ancestors who have sailed before us. As we sail ourVaka across the Pacific, we are respectful and gentle, always remembering our voyage motto: “Move your paddle silently through the water.”

The Ocean provides us with the air we breathe, the food we eat, life-sustaining medicines, and nourishment for our souls. Currently, our Ocean is in peril and these essential gifts are quickly disappearing.

Sailing together, we are combining the traditional wisdom of our ancestors with modern scientific knowledge to both broaden our understanding of the Ocean, as well as to share our message of stewardship with the world.

As Polynesians, we cannot separate ourselves from this Ocean.  The salt water that flows through our veins runs deep, connecting us spiritually to the sea.  Its life-force strengthens our bodies and shapes our identities.

The Pacific is our home, our breath, our future.  We can only survive if we come together as cultures, as crew-mates, to preserve the health of our ocean planet – Our Blue Canoe.

Events for San Diego

Winterizing and winter break until January, 2012

January 24, 2012 is the day of departure of the second leg.

Te Mana o Te Moana – The Spirit of the Sea

Our Polynesian ancestors respected and cared for the sea. As we follow in their wake on our journey, we carry with us Te Mana o Te Moana, as we venture forth raising awareness to help heal our ocean. Like our forefathers had done thousands of years before us, we travel using traditional Vaka Moana, voyaging canoes.

Our mission is simple: Use the wisdom of our ancestors, combined with modern science, to propel us into a more sustainable future, help heal our injured ocean, raise awareness, and to revive our cultural traditions of voyaging. Demographically, our crews vary. We have come together from many islands, men and women, young and older, to sail our seven vaka as one.

Starting in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in April of 2011, we have sailed to Tahiti, The Marquesas, and throughout Hawaii where we attended the Kava Bowl Ocean Summit. At the Kava Bowl Summit, all voyagers, along with some of the top marine scientists in the world, came together to address the effects of climate change on our ocean, the economic costs of the ocean, and the intrinsic value we hold for our ocean. During this unique Summit, we built a bridge, linking our traditional wisdom and spirit of the sea, with current scientific findings.

Hine Moana and her sisters © Magnus Danbolt

We have just concluded our North American leg of our journey. We sailed down the California coast, starting in San Francisco and concluded in San Diego where we are winterizing our vessels. Commencing our journey again in January, 2012, we’ll continue to raise awareness of the current health of our Pacific Ocean and show people what they can do to help. During our journey thus far, we’ve seen pockets of floating plastic and debris, litter strewn upon our beaches, and the most heartbreaking: a Fin Whale just off the shores of San Francisco, struggling in an entangled piece of plastic rope that only took hold deeper. We’ll continue our voyage south to Cabo San Lucas, on to Costa Rica’s Cocos Islands, the Galapagos, The Marquesas, Tahiti, and then back to our Pacific Island homes. We’ll also attend the Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands in July 2012. We invite and encourage you to continue following us on our journey.  We get so much joy and pleasure from people following and encouraging us along the way!

Anyone is welcome to come and see our vaka and to speak with our crews when we are in a location near you.  If you’d like visit, or even assist us in any way, please do see our sail plan.  With any event dependent on the elements of nature, delays may occur.  When we’re sailing, you can follow our actual real time position at Track the Voyage.  Until we commence again, we’ll be winterizing our vaka moana in San Diego until January, 2012.

Mariana Almeida, Executive President of  Fundacion SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras and Representative of Ocean Defenders Ecuador, will be on hand  to receive and welcome the Pacific Islander  Blue Canoe fleet in Galápagos. All parties expect to consolidate institutional commitments to Ocean preservation and particular attention will be focussed on the dangers facing the Galapagos Marine Reserve and how these can be overcome through concerted international action.



~ by FSVSF Admin on 23 February, 2012.

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