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Welcome Home?

14 July, 2012

Welcome Home?
Lightening crackled like a demented spider web arcing outward from a single point high up in the dark cloudbank. As we rounded the corner of Guadalcanal heading south the wind and seas mounted. Heavy rain pelted down thru the night drenching everything and everyone, the canoe pounded and wave after wave bashed against the hull sending sheets of spray across the slippery deck.
Welcome home. It feels a bit like that, heading south towards Aotearoa-NZ, flashbacks of our first leg last year coming thick and fast as we drove into wind and sea. It’s exciting for a couple of days. Looking at the forecast we’ve got a week of the same wind, thankfully the big squalls have backed off and we’re down to 25knots and 3 meter swells. It’d be great sailing if it was coming from the right direction.
Oh well, the life of a sailor eh. We have made our way across the broad face of the Pacific, all this watery continent’s people gathered together in our fleet.
The late Pacific poet, ‘Epeli Hau’ofa said:
”We should not be defined by the smallness of our islands but in the greatness of our oceans. We are the sea. We are the ocean. Oceania is us.
We must wake up to this ancient truth and together use it to overturn all hegemonic views that aim ultimately to confine us again, physically and psychologically. It is time to create things for ourselves, to create established standards of excellence that match those of our ancestors.”

Where ever our ancestors are from the same is true, we are building the culture of tomorrow. The things we bring from the past and the things we take from the present will be our ‘culture’. Culture is not a static inflexible structure, it’s fluid and adaptable to the needs of it’s people. Some things remain of value, other values reach the end of their time and are replaced to serve current needs better. This is our job. To build an environment, a global culture that will work for our kids. Our aim should be to achieve excellence in doing this, for our tupuna and for our mokopuna.
A marlin launched out of the water behind us greyhounding(tail-walking) across the swells. My heart sunk. I would rather eat beans than kill a fish like that, but if the canoe needs to be feed it’s difficult to say no. Having said that if they’re too big we don’t take them, and generally we try to avoid billfish because they’re heavily overfished already.
Our finny friend let us bring him right up to the canoe where he thrashed in the water once or twice before deciding he didn’t want to play anymore. With one mighty nod of his head he took off with a new piece of jewellery. Not a bad outcome from my perspective, particularly as an hour and a half later we pulled in a very fine 20kg yellowfin just the right size to feed us for a couple of days.
We’re sailing north again to rejoin the other canoes and wait for the wind to change. Apparently it’s not time for us to go home yet. Patience Grasshopper.

Dunc and Faafaite

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