On Tuesday, August 27th, sophomores and juniors of Yap Catholic High School joined the crew of Okeanos Waa’qab and Okeanos Ambassador along with members of the Yap Department of Education and the Department of Youth and Civic Affairs (DY&CA) for a coastal clean-up around Nungoch island in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia.
Students broke off into two groups, collecting trash from both the beach and from the deck of the vakas. Over 10 bags of trash were collected during the two hour clean up, according to Yap Catholic High School Principal Michael Wiencek.
“It was wonderful collaborating with so many different organizations and especially YHS,” said Principal Wiencek. “I look forward to other opportunities like this in the future. I think events bringing the high schools together are an excellent opportunity to show that we are all working together towards a common goal.”
This event and Yap Catholic High School’s weekly Thursday Colonia Bus Park clean ups are supported by the Wa’ab Healthy Lifestyle Coalition. While cleaning, students are reminded not only of the importance of protecting our island home but also of the risks associated with alcohol, drugs, and unhealthy lifestyles.
Both Okeanos Ambassador and Okeanos Waa’qab are dedicated to providing traditionally-based, sustainable sea transportation to the outer island communities of Yap, who often have to wait months to be serviced by the single, government-chartered cargo ship. The Okeanos Vaka Motus are fossil fuel-free and use solar power and coconut biofuel to operate when winds are low.
Yap legislature, including Governor Henry Falan, have publicly endorsed the Okeanos Vakas for their ability to service the people of Yap with goods, medical relief and transportation while also peaking the interest of young people to embrace their ancestral seafaring roots.
Article by Steve Holloway (Okeanos Foundation), Picture Credit: Yap Catholic High School Principal Michael Wiencek and Iva Vunikura (Okeanos Ambassador Watchcaptain)