Oct 14, 2016

Okeanos Aotearoa blog – 13 October 2016

The final few days of our voyage were smooth sailing as we pulled into The Land of the Long White Cloud. When we reached the latitude of the northern most tip of Aotearoa we were greeted by a pod of dolphins who played in our wake, jumping around us, and that evening one of the best parts of our voyaged happened when our destination appeared on the horizon in the light of the setting sun.

We would steer towards Big Barrier Island for another day before passing it the next night. As we came into Rangitoto we pulled in several Kawai and enjoyed fresh fish cruising towards Auckland City where we cleared customs and arrived at our destination.

The friends you make at sea. Humpback whales escorting the vaka as it departs Vava'u.

The friends you make at sea. Humpback whales escorting the vaka as it departs Vava’u.

The 13 day voyage from Tonga to New Zealand was one that will not be soon forgotten. Moana has showed us that she can go from being a sea of glass to an ocean of white capped mountains or anything in between and that she is the home and source of most of this worlds life. This mostly up wind voyage was a great learning experience for all of the crew members who have come from different parts of the world and backgrounds.

Okeanos - Foundation for the Sea and Tonga Voyaging Society crew leaving Nuku'alofa Tonga for Aotearoa under Captain Aunofo Havea.

Okeanos – Foundation for the Sea and Tonga Voyaging Society crew leaving Nuku’alofa Tonga for Aotearoa under Captain Aunofo Havea.

It was the first international sail for Vihai and Kona, and Nofo’s first time leading a crew made up of entirely young men under the age of 25 (for some reason she keeps talking about needing to recruit more women, but we dont know why).

Tonga Voyaging Society President, Captain Aunofo Havea briefing 2016 rookie crew for Vava'u - Tonga - Aotearoa voyage.

Tonga Voyaging Society President, Captain Aunofo Havea briefing 2016 rookie crew for Vava’u – Tonga – Aotearoa voyage.

Our veteran crew members and international voyagers Peia Junior and Maurai have sailed the Okeanos Waka Motu many times and were excited to share the experience with Toiora, our other experienced international voyager.

We know that we are consistanlty watched over and protected by our God and ancestors and are greatful for the help that our faith in them gives us. We would like to give a special thank you to the Okeanos Foundation, Ocean Sustainability Research Ltd, The Tonga Voyaging Society, and Vaka & Moana Co.. With out the help of all the amazing, hard working people within these organizations what we were able to accomplish here would not have been possible.

Okeanos Aotearoa departing Vava'u after three months of rookie crew training and piloting whale-watching and whale-swimming from vaka in Vava'u. This year has only been achievable through a dynamic partnership between Tonga Voyaging Society, Okeanos - Foundation for the Sea and the licensing of a new whale-watch and whale-swim company Vaka & Moana Co. Whale-Swim Vava'u.

Okeanos Aotearoa departing Vava’u after three months of rookie crew training and piloting whale-watching and whale-swimming from vaka in Vava’u.

Tonga Voyaging Society 2016 rookie crew back to b'niz, leaving Vava'u for Tonga and Aotearoa on Okeanos Aotearoa.

Tonga Voyaging Society 2016 rookie crew back to b’niz, leaving Vava’u for Tonga and Aotearoa on Okeanos Aotearoa.

Malo ‘aupito, Maururu, Mahalo, Meitaki and Kia ora
Okeanos Aotearoa – Aunofo, Peia, Maurai, Vihai, Kona and Toiora.

All pictures by Tonga Voyaging Society