This past weekend, the brave crew of our latest Vaka Motu Okeanos Marianas docked in New Caledonia where they were welcomed with a traditional custom ceremony by the Minister of Custom Affairs.
This is the first stop of a long 4,022 mile journey to Saipan in the Northern Marianas, the permanent home of our vaka motu.
Under the direction of Pwo Master Navigator and Okeanos Fleet Captain, Peia Patai, three new crew member from the Northern Marianas islands, Andrea Carr, Devin Noisom and John Sablan, have joined the voyage to get hands on sailing experience and learn about wayfinding in action as they journey back to their homeland.
“To be able to bring this to the Marianas is bringing back something that has been lost,” said crew member Andrea Carr who grew up in Saipan and has lived in there for the past 30 years.
For two months prior to sailing, the crew members helped with the construction of Okeanos Marianas, to promote knowledge of boat building for Pacific islanders in addition to learning navigating.
“This is a very exciting time. It took us at least 4 and a half, 5 months to build [the vaka],” said captain Patai.
In addition, Okeanos has partnered with the Saipan organization 500 Sails to help meet the Marianas community needs for sustainable sea transport.
After the ceremony, Okeanos Marianas departed from New Caledonia early this week, soon to reach the Solomon Islands for stop No. 2!
To keep track of Okeanos Marianas in realtime, follow her on our crew’s GPS tracker. Our vaka and her crew are expected to reach Saipan by late October.