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Vaka Marumaru Atua makes homecoming journey with two women aboard

Thursday 20 June 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Vaka Marumaru Atua makes homecoming journey with two women aboard
Vaka Marumaru Atua set sail for Rarotonga on Saturday, June 15, departing the Maritime Education Training Centre (METC) on Sand Island under the command of captain and master navigator Peia Patai. CIVS/24061822

As the Cook Islands voyaging canoe Vaka Marumaru Atua cuts through the blue waters of the Pacific making her journey back home to Rarotonga, alongside the male crew members are two women.

In the past women have sailed the ocean-wide seas on international journeys on Marumaru Atua.

This time Dr. Evangelene Wong and Sandra Ankli are sailing the homecoming journey from Honolulu, Hawai’i, marking a significant increase in the presence of women in the crew.

Vaka Marumaru Atua set sail for Rarotonga on Saturday, June 15, departing the Maritime Education Training Centre (METC) on Sand Island under the command of captain and master navigator Peia Patai.

The voyage is expected to take 20-25 days, weather permitting. 

The Hawaiians, the local Cook Islands community, and members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society farewelled the crew at METC last week.

Cook Islands master navigator Tua Pittman, who spent time with the crew in Hawai’i, shared words of encouragement before they set sail.

Thanks to the support of some Hawaiians, the crew managed to fix their Starlink connection, enabling them to provide regular updates. These daily updates bring peace of mind and ngakau maru to the families back home who eagerly await them.

The Cook Islands Voyaging Society (CIVS) and Te Puna Mararma Voyaging Foundation also extended their special thanks to the “incredible Map Man” Michael Shintani who has created and managed the vaka online tracking maps out of love.

Shintani also provides this service for vaka across the region.

Cook Islands Voyaging Society secretary Byron Brown expressed appreciation for Shintani’s work and willingness to help track the Vaka. The tracking provides real-time updates online, allowing everyone to follow the whereabouts of Marumaru Atua and her crew.

The Marumaru Atua returning crew sailing to Rarotonga are captain and master navigator Peia Patai, Deon Wong, Steve Daniel, Zebadiah Revake, Oliver Oolders, Ngatama Ria Tuakanangaro (Mauke), and Metua Vai-ne Tauirarii Mitchell.

In Hawai’i, the returning crew was joined by Dr Evangelene Wong, John Wayne Gosselin (Pukapuka), Andrew S Akavi Raeputa (Mitiaro), Ben Raela, Sandra Ankli, Joshua Rowles, Teariki “Tux” Gardiner, Kahia Walker from the Iosepa crew of Hawai’i, and Matariki Cardinahi Tuki from Rapa Nui.

  • Melina Etches

Marumaru Atua Evening report as of 1730hrs, June 19, 2024

Position. N14'08.949 W152'52.656; SOG 5.3Knots; Course 152'; Weather – NE Winds 20-22knots, NE swell 2-2.5m, Sea moderate and cloudy skies.

Situation – Good days sail making an average of 6-6.5 knots, swell has started to increase in size as we stay on our bearing of 145-150’. Both main and mizzen set to the first reef stay sail up. Looking forward to the nights wet and bumpy watch.