Traveling in seven sailing voyaging canoes, or vaka moanas, the Pacific Voyagers left Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands on June 4. After 12 days at sea, using only the stars and the ocean to navigate, they arrived in Hilo last Thursday. A small ceremony was held before the grand welcoming ceremony on Sunday.
Now Molokai will have its own welcoming ceremony to honor the Navigators message of cultural and environmental responsibility.
“We’re sailing across the Pacific to renew our ties to the sea and its life-sustaining strength,” state the Voyagers. “The ocean is the origin of life, and it continues to give us air to breathe, fish to eat, and nourishes our soul as well. As threatened as the ocean is now, however, it soon can no longer provide us with these essential life services.
“Sailing together, we seek the wisdom of our ancestors and the knowledge of scientists to keep the Pacific healthy and give our grandchildren a future.”
The voyage, named Te Mana o Te Moana or “The Spirit of the Sea,” aims to “contribute to the wisdom of the Polynesian ancestors who loved and respected the sea.”
The Pacific Voyagers will spread this message when they attend a scientific meeting addressing the costs which ocean climate change will have for us all. The Kava Bowl Ocean Summit 2011 will be held in Hawaii at the end of June.
The ongoing journey will then continue to North America and further to meet different people, including students, to inform them of the outcome of the conference and of the alarming changes happening in the Pacific Ocean.
In a statement that can be found on their website www.pacificvoyagers.org, the crew speaks about their responsibilities:
“We honor our canoes of a new type, we honor those who participated the revival of traditional navigation in the wake of Hokule’a, Hawaiki Nui o Te au o Tonga, and Hawaii Loa Makali’i, Te aurere. This is the first time that so many people of the great ocean come together to convey a message, that of protecting our common heritage: the Pacific Ocean ‘Te Moana Nui Hiva.’ To end commercial over fishing, pollution and the killing of protected animals. A shout to the world so that the ocean and its resources, both natural and cultural, are preserved for future generations, the ocean is the cradle of our civilization and the reason to live for millions of islanders.”