AFTER A THREE MONTH epic canoe voyage, Climate Challenger has finally returned home.
It was around 8am 5th of December, making a steady 10 knots with our sails well set, that we returned to Pere, our home, after a sometimes hazardous voyage that had taken us from Manus to the Solomon Islands and back to PNG again, hurrying north just ahead of the cyclone season.
On Pere we could see a crowd of waiting friends, families and loved ones who had flocked to the shore. Echoes of the steady rhythm of the garamut filtered to our ears as we sailed in through the reef. Nearby, four canoes decorated with sago palms waited to escort us to the beach front. They were the proud seafaring canoes performing a guard of honor. We, the crew of Climate Challenger, were also dressed in our traditional attire and danced to the beat of the garamut as we sailed in. I kept my video camera rolling, filming every action, it will be a big celebration, I thought to myself.
The garamut rocked Pere as traditional dancers danced in to meet us as the guard of honour escorted us ashore. The flower girls put wreaths around our neck and we proceeded to meet the village chiefs, councillors and church elders who had lined up to receive us. In every corner we could hear people shouting and cheering. Everyone was so proud and happy to see us back safe and sound. The crew members were rounded up by their immediate families – shaking hands, chatting, crying. I could see tears of joy everywhere. It was a proud moment of my life and indeed a relief to be on Pere, finally home and reunited with our families.
The challenges, the sleepless nights and stressful times were over but the voyage is not. There is far to go in making our Pacific an environmentally secure place.
Climate Challenger Voyage Documentary
I am in Brisbane Australia now working on editing all of our video footage with film maker, Kat Gawlik. We expect to complete the documentary about the voyage by early April, 2013.
Climate Challenger will commence its journey early next year once funding is secured. This year, the crews planned to build a bigger canoe where it will join Climate Challenger on the next epic voyage where the crews planned to sail from Manus to Palau then to Marshall Islands. Open Member for Manus Hon. Ronny Knight has already pledged his support to build the new canoe.
Thank you all for joining us and we hope to update you all soon on the progress of our preparation and what is forthcoming in regards to our fundraising and our Pacific voyage.
Captain Manuai Matawai