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MONTEREY, Calif.- Seven Polynesian ocean-going canoes that set sail in April across the Pacific Ocean on a historic expedition arrived in Monterey Friday.
According to a news release Friday, the double-hulled vakas, crewed by a pan-Pacific network of Voyagers from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Tonga, will travel 15,000 nautical miles by celestial navigation propelled by the wind and sun, using solar electrified motors.
This journey reconnects the crews with their ancestors and their environment, while raising awareness for the issues threatening our greatest ocean, the Pacific.
The current state of the Pacific Ocean's environment impacts not only the Pacific Voyagers, but all of us in real ways. The Pacific Ocean sustains livelihoods, supports enormous biological diversity, and hosts complex ecosystems. The ocean-based economies produce a wealth of resources for over 3 billion people in 56 Pacific Island and Pacific Rim countries and territories. Through trade links and consumption, this network of islands affects billions more around the globe. As the engine of our planet, the Pacific is our breath, our life, our future. The message these voyagers carry is that we are all in one canoe, and together we have the power to shift tides.
The Pacific Voyagers arrived in Monterey at the Del Monte Beach this afternoon. Their stay in Monterey is sponsored in part by the Pacific Islander's Cultural Association (PICA). Their mission is to help educate people about the cultures and traditions of all Pacific Islanders. The six vakas will be in Monterey for five days filled with events that will "celebrate these voyagers not only as sailors, but as stewards. Drawing on the lessons of their past to propel us all forward, these navigators are charting a bold new course, steering us all toward a sustainable future," said the news release.
On board, is Scientist and Explorer, Sylvia Earle, Master Navigator, Tua Pittman, along with other scientists and the Pacific Voyager crews from Aotearoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawaii, Pan Pacific and Samoa.
You can follow the vakas via the official voyage and project website at www.pacificvoyagers.org and see footage from the Pacific Voyager's documentary, "Our Blue Canoe."