The ship leaving the Yacht Club
The Samoan Flag saluted for the boys...and 2 girls before leaving.
loading food onto the boat.
The beautiful Vaka!
The food that was served.
Six months ago when I was visiting Tonga, I heard all about the Samoan ship. I was told how knowledgeable they were, and how they were the best ship to go on for the yacht races. Unfortunately, they were not there at the time. So I went on another boat, in which we had a man overboard, lost our dingy, and had countless other problems. (At least it was interesting!)
Since then, I have gotten to know some of the crew of the vaka (boat). They are extremely nice, and have so much pride in their ship. The crew at the time of Tonga was half Samoans and half Palagis. But the goal of the ship with to train Samoans on the open seas and have a complete Samoan crew.
A few months ago they had job interviews, and last weekend, a crew of all Samoans, I think there were 16 of them, set out on the open seas ready for adventure. Most of them were leaving their country for the first time. While some of them, were leaving their village for the first time. Because of that, the boat launching ceremony was emotional for all that were there.
During the ceremony, while the prime minister and Miss Samoa were giving speeches, I was in the restaurant, doing the duties of a Samoan. I grabbed a gigantic breadfruit leaf, and fanned the flies away from the food.
When the speeches were over, and people had eaten, little boats were being loaded to bring food on board the ship. Packages of rice, and other bags were being put on the ship. After tearful farewells from their parents, the crew then went on board.
The crew then did a haka (traditional dance) as we all cheered from the sidelines. People then got inside little boats, and did circles around the vaka. We then sang the goodbye song, and they were off.
The amazing thing about this boat launching is that they will be gone for 18 months, and plan to use only traditional methods to find their ways. This means they have memorized the stars from every latitude and longitude line to be able to see the difference from wherever they may be. Because of current regulations, they are required to have a motor, however have no plans to use it.
These Samoans that just left are really brave for what they plan to do, They are going to come back so knowledgeable and able to do anything. The ceremony was so beautiful, and I really admire these sailors for what they are doing. I wish them a lot of luck, and can’t wait for their website to be up so I can see their journey.