Apr 10, 2018

Launching of Yap’s Vaka Motu: Okeanos Waa’qab

What more important moment in the life of a canoe than when she leaves the land to reach her new home, the Ocean?

Thursday the 5th 2018, at the Pier21 in Auckland a canoe went into the water: her name is Okeanos Waa’qab, and she is the new born in the Okeanos canoe family.

Okeanos Waa’qab under construction at Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders in Auckland thanks to our international crew of boatbuilders from Vanuatu, Cook Islands, and Tahiti.Photo credit: Simon Baumfield

Vaka motu hauled to Pier 21 where it received a traditional blessing before entering the water. Photo credit: India Tabellini

It is an intimate and sincere ceremony that marks this special event, a karakia is said by Rama Ormsby from Tainui Vaka, and the canoe is ready to go.

Crew member India Tabellini of Tahiti sailed Okeanos’ last vaka motu on its maiden voyage to the Marianas before returning to Auckland to assist with the construction of Okeanos Waa’qab; Photo Credit: Chelu Photos

It is a diverse group of people that looks up to the canoe in the air, while she is lifted and carried to the water. People from all over the Pacific, people with different stories and backgrounds, people with different cultures. Maybe they don’t even realize it at the moment: If circumstances were different, they could have been in all sort of different places, at that moment. But no, they are all there and they are all looking in the same direction, having a common vision of what the future should look like.

Is it not this, the power of the canoes?

As islander and Pacific people, we are the first victims of global problems that are hitting our planet. Some of our islands are disappearing under the water, more and more cyclones are happening in our area, the over fishing is lowering our maritime resources. Rediscover our seafarer culture, our link to the Ocean, let it inspire us for a better future, a future where technology is at service of the Nature and not all the way around, can be a real solution.

Okeaons Waa’qab prepares for its first sea trials before its maiden sail to her country of residency, Yap; Photo credit: India Tabellini

It is a real now, while we are looking this canoe touch the water for the first time, hearing her hybrid engines turn on and imagining all the amazing goals that she will reach, all the people that she will inspire to look back at the Ocean as we used to do, all the knowledge and the links she will keep alive through the Pacific Ocean and the help she will bring to those who need it.

Who knows? Possibilities are limitless. For the moment, the first set goal is to be a classroom for the crew who will operate the Vaka Motu in the islands.

All the best Okeanos Waa’qab, welcome among us!

Blog by India Tabellini, Okeanos Trainer and Crew Member