Ten years ago, 200 Pacific Voyagers set sail on their seven Vaka Moanas. Their traditionally designed, modern ocean-going sailing canoes built by Okeanos Foundation for the Sea took them on an epic journey called ‘Te Mana O Te Moana’, spreading the message of the importance of the world’s oceans for human survival and the role of indigenous cultures in managing marine resources. On this long trip, they gathered their strength from the strong believe that they can and will make a difference. Today, ten years after the Pacific Voyagers set sail, their enthusiastic and empowering thoughts are even more important. Reconnecting with each other and the ocean is crucial if humanity collectively wants to find new ways of existence in harmony with the environment our survival depends on. Over the year, we will look back and share some blogs that show highlights of the ‘Te Mana O Te Moana’.
New departure date / 30 March 2011
As it is always before a huge journey, a big change or a move, there is so much to do.We therefore decided to postpone the departure to 12th April, if the weather permits. All the crew are working hard at the Salthouse Boatbuilder’s yard or at the birth in Viaduct harbour, Auckland, where three of the five vaka are now. Every vaka will get a new solar-power -system to be able to travel completely without burning fossil fuel. The engine is necessary when you get into or out of a harbour. Two of the vaka, Te Matau A Maui and Hine Moana, have already had an solar-power system since last year’s journey as a test. Learning from this, our solar-power-system developer David Czap has designed a new system, which is much lighter and the new lithium polymer batteries have a 40% higher capacity than the old batteries. In addition to this the vaka get a complete overhaul for the 15,000 miles journey to Hawaii, North America and back via the Galapagos Islands, Marquesas and Tahiti. The crew are varnishing for example the masts and the whare, inspecting all the lashings and make sure that they are tight, oiling the kiatos, and checking wear and tear of the sails. We can’t wait to get ready and start the voyage.
Environmental training / 06 April 2011
We have started on Monday with the environmental training. People who are involved in different fields of marine environmental protection are presenting their topics as there are for example Marine Debris, Invasive Species or how to identify Whales and Dolphins. We will also have lessons about the three main topics of the voyage: Noise Pollution, Dead Zones and Ocean Acidification, all three are CO2 related problems which are developing secretly and worsening the other threats. As these three threats are severe ones and not well-know yet, we would like to take the opportunity to raise special attention for them. The first presentation as an introduction into this week was held by Rachel Moreau. She has an international background as she worked for the UN International Maritime Organisation and also for the nautical industry for sustainable development. Rachel told us about the cycles in nature and life and how we can contribute to protect the ocean and the world. We are hoping that this is just a starting point, we are hoping to have a lot of discussions and an ongoing exchange of thoughts and experiences on the vaka. There are so many different people amongst us, some live their everyday life with their ancestor’s wisdom, some have studied environmental science, some have seen the changes in the ocean with their own eyes, and some are living close to a threatened area at the sea. Together we will make a group of people with an enormous and precious knowledge, which we can spread out to the world. Together we can make a change.
Leaving Ceremony on Wednesday / 13 April 2011
On Wednesday, 13th April between 9:00 – 11:00 am we will be having a leaving ceremony at Viaduct harbour in Auckland (At Market Square, off Customs St West & opp O’Hagan’s Irish Pub, Viaduct Basin). Due to last preparations on the solar-power-system the vaka will be leaving Aotearoa for the voyage to Hawaii in the early morning on Saturday, 16th. They will be training and testing on Auckland harbour on Thursday and Friday. Next destination will be Fakarava, French Polynesia. To be able to transport our message properly, we have not only learned about what effects the ocean and how we can reduce the man-made impact by ourselves, we also start our voyage for the ocean with the things we take on board.
The provisioning will be about 90% organic, especially the meat we’ll take on board. Organic food is grown and produced with less polluting substances as there are for example fertilizer, pesticides, or hormones to make the animal grow faster. So the food we take on board is good for the ocean and it’s good for our health as well. Produced near by, the transport is short and produces less carbon dioxide then products transported a long way until it gets to us, which causes a lot of threats in the ocean.
In addition we reduce plastic in buying huge bottles of biodegradable dish washing liquids and also biodegradable shampoo for the whole crew, instead of heaving lots of little plastic bottles. We will buy less plastic wrapped bread and bake our own ones on board. All this adds to our solar-powered engines, we use. No fossil fuel, no carbon dioxide (apart from cooking with gas). We will be sailing driven by wind and sun, following in the wake of the ancestors, bringing the message along with us.