Several weeks ago I published a photo I shot of a large sailboat anchored here in our bay. I’d heard it was from New Zealand. More recently I found out that this was one of a fleet of 7 vakas moanas, or ocean-going canoes, each boat with a crew of about a dozen sailors from Samoa, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji and other Polynesian islands. They’re making a film called “Our Blue Canoe,” to alert people to the pollution that is threatening our oceans. No fossil fuels; their only propulsion is the wind and a small amount of power for engines from solar panels. They are using celestial navigation.
“Okeanos – Foundation for the Sea have rebuilt seven ocean-voyaging vaka moanas, together with the help and expertise of the Polynesian people. The design of our vakas use a fusion of both traditional and modern methods and materials. We followed our ancestor’s design, but incorporated more sustainable materials to lessen the impact on our environment. Fibreglass hulls replace timbre to protect our forests and we’ve added eight solar panels on the back of each vaka to power our engines. Natural gas is the only fossil fuel used, which is employed solely for cooking. Like our ancestors before us, we use no running water. Voyaging on our vaka, we are continuing to revive our ancient Polynesian cultural traditions while exercising respectful stewardship of our ocean.”
Two days ago the4y left San Francisco, heading south along the coast.
Photo © Rui Camilo