Pacific Voyagers – Te Mana o Te Moana

As a long time sailor of Hawaiian ancestry I’ve been captivated by the rebirth of Polynesian voyaging. And this past month I was part of a small contingent that gathered at Spanish Landing in San Diego Bay to welcome the Pacific Voyagers, Te Mana o Te Manoa, and the fleet of double-hulled Vakas.  Once ashore the journey worn crews – after 11,000 miles and 5-months, from New Zealand to California – enthusiastically performed a Haka. Then the crowd and crews held hands in a circle and offered a prayer of thanks for the voyagers safe arrival. The feeling of ‘mana’ in that single moment was one of the most culturally up-lifting experiences I’ve had in a long time. The fleet’s arrival coincided with the annual San Diego Festival of Sail. Seeing the Vakas the next day, among the large gathering of Tall Ships, was like a cultural crossroad of human ambition, seafaring know-how and lust for adventure. I’d like to think it was dumb luck, but it was my “Eddie Would Go” t-shirt that caught the attention of a Vaka crew. Several of them came up to me and said, “great shirt, great man.” And like a dream come true I was invited to sail with them that afternoon. I can’t even begin to describe the genetic bubbles bursting in my heart when they unfurled the sails. It was like a tidal wave of my ancestors pouring over me. When the Vaka’s Kapena (Captain) heard I was a sailor he said, “Kanaka check back with us in January before we head south to the Galapagos, maybe there’s a spot aboard for you.” I spent the rest of that sail lost in a haze and I don’t think I’ve come out of it yet. The thought of being on a Vaka in open ocean. To experience what our kupuna did. To honor one’s kuleana. That would be a dream come true.

Learn more about the Pacific Voyagers and their mission here – http://www.pacificvoyagers.org/Pacific Voyagers

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