Mahonri Williams (left), Charlene Akaruru and Oliver Oolders are part of the crew set to depart to Aitutaki this morning. AL WILLIAMS/21102014
GPS and modern navigation will be switched off for the overnight trip to Aitutaki on Vaka Marumaru Atua. Instead, the crew will be using traditional wayfinding techniques guided by stars, wind, swell, and the sun.
First mate, Deon Wong said over the past four
weeks the crew have learnt traditional navigation theory through master
navigator, Peia Patia.
“So this is our opportunity to show what we’ve
learnt and it’s the easiest run because it (Aitutaki) is straight North and
it’s only 145 miles,” Wong said.
“It’s our turn to put that in the water.”
He said only the radio will be on during the
“So no GPS, no compass, just full-on
Marumaru Atua will depart Avarua harbour at
nine this morning and is expected to arrive at Aitutaki at around midday
The vaka and crew will stay for a week for the
200-year anniversary celebrations of the arrival of Christianity to the island.
Conditions permitting, the crew will return on Thursday next week also using
“We’re only just scratching the surface (of navigating)
... people take lots and lots of years to be able to get to that level where
you take the (navigation) test, so this is just the start of it,” Wong
He said the group would do many trips from
Rarotonga to Aitutaki until they sailed further to Penrhyn, which is another
700 miles on.
Charlene Akaruru is in her final year of
secondary school and this is her first voyage to another island, she said only
using traditional navigation was awesome.
“It really is something that gets you thinking
a lot, it’s just overall amazing.”
She said the classroom sessions were confusing
at first because of how much there was to think about.
Physics were also part of lessons, where crew
needed to learn about degrees and stars rising and setting, Akaruru said.