Mua Voyage: Blog Update from Uto ni Yalo, November 30, 2014
Position: S 32 22.957’, E 162 14.607’
Distance to Destination: 538 nautical miles
We’ve left Sydney. The World Parks Congress is over, our message was delivered, our voices were heard. We’re going into the fifth day of our leg to Auckland and have all rested up from the whirlwind of Sydney, but our task is far from over. The message of sustainable living and harmony of man and his ocean resources still needs voices.
The life of an ocean ambassador is a constant swim against the current that comprises of materialism and human greed. Some swim hard against this current with science, some with sailing and some with art. I’ve just come off the 0600-0900HRS watch shift and have had plenty early morning time to contemplate how I’m going paddle up-current. The vaka, with her creaking kiatu and salty decks, has stolen my heart. All of a sudden, job security and a degree don’t seem so attractive. Early morning breakfasts of porridge and midnight shifts blanketed by stars quickly create addicts.
As Josua mans the uli and our new Maori-Fijian crew member, Kaipara sands down a rogue plank, I hear talk of future voyages. The sail back home to Fiji from Auckland, via Cook Islands, in April is the talk at the moment. Also in the pipeline is the voyage to the 2015 South Pacific Games in PNG. All of this rides on the availability of funding and the mana of the Uto. I suddenly don’t want to go back to university. A full time job? Not too keen.
The AP2 headsail is up and winds are light but we’re heading due east to Aotearoa and this is right where I want to be: in the arms and hulls of our mother vaka. This of course will change after the reality of land hits me again, but life on the vaka sure makes you question the necessity of being caught in “the system”.
Everyone has their own role in riding, and sometimes fighting, the current of society. Whether you’re a scientist, a journalist, a watch captain or a dancer, simply keep swimming. Swim hard at your desk, swim hard in your families, swim hard on your streets and beaches. As Pacific Islanders, there’s ocean in your blood and the vanua in your bones.
Continue to respect them and do all you can to preserve them for your descendants. All of these disjointed ramblings are the product of an uneventful watch shift and too much lolo rice for breakfast. Signing out now with a distance of 538 nautical miles till our destination, and a forecast of beef stirfry for lunch. In the words of Angelo Smith, all’s well in love, war and vaka life.
This blog was written by Drue Slatter, Uto Ni Yalo crew