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  • By Bruce Lloyd

Ship-ashore! Actually it's a traditional canoe, arriving on Guam within minutes of its scheduled

There they are!

At a time when commercial air transportation between Guam and its neighbor Mariana Islands leaves a lot to be desired, the Okeanos Marianas, a traditional Polynesian double-hulled, 50-foot open ocean sailing canoe, is raising new hopes that the ocean transportation of the remote past, can once again provide valuable service.

After leaving Rota and heading to Guam, the Okeanos easily met its promised 8:30 a.m. arrival time, though it hung out off-shore for a while due to questions about how Guam customs inspectors would do their required work.

The Okeanos pulled into the Guam Boat Basin shortly after 9 a.m., but then had to adjourn to a pier across the channel for the customs scrutiny.

The canoe-bound travelers were later greeted back at the canoe house in the midst of a drenching rain squall.

The canoe started its journey from New Zealand where it was built on September 20th, stopping briefly at New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, and Chuuk. It arrived on Saipan (its new home) on October 30th. Of the eight crew that were on board for the New Zealand-Saipan voyage, three are Saipan residents, including Andrea Carr, Devin Noisom, and John M. Sablan. Also included were voyagers from Fiji, France, and Tahiti. The captain of the New Zealand-Saipan voyage was Master Navigator Peia Petai of the Cook Islands, one of Grand Master Navigator Mau Piailug’s students.

Captain Raikiulipiy gets a late breakfast or early lunch on arrival at the Guam Boat Basin

The captain of the Saipan-Rota-Guam voyage is Cecilio Raikiulipiy, a nephew of Grand Master Navigator Mau Piailug. Instruments will not be used for this trip, but rather traditional methods of navigation. The crew includes the Saipan residents from the New Zealand-Saipan voyage, as well as crew from Tahiti and Fiji who will be remaining in Saipan for the next six months to train additional crew. New to the crew for the Saipan-Rota-Guam voyage are Emma and Pete J. Perez, both Guam’s familian Gollo, now residents of Saipan.

Plans for passenger and/or freight transportation are being developed. Meanwhile, lucky passengers will be getting their first traditional canoe rides off Guam.


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