PTS plumbing and the Cook Islands Voyaging Society team working on assembling and installing the watermaker on the Marumaru Atua. 22010704
The executives of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society were beyond excited to receive a fresh watermaker, which will enhance life on Vaka Marumaru Atua for voyagers and also help the Pa Enua with their water supply where it’s needed.
The ‘Spectra Watermaker’was
funded by Nia Tero, a US based non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to
highlighting the work of indigenous peoples in upholding many of the planet’s
healthiest ecosystems, rich in biodiversity, and systems essential to the
security of global food production, fresh water, and the climate.
Alongside the support from the Cook Islands-based NGO, Korero o te Orau
and the Cook Islands Voyaging Society, the water making device is now being
assembled in Aitutaki where the Vaka Marumaru Atua is currently docked.
The watermaker will mean the vaka can be self-sufficient for fresh water when travelling and also means there is no burden on the Pa Enua to supply precious water when the vaka is visiting.
The Society expressed their deep gratitude to Nia Tero for funding the
device which will enhance life on the vaka and in the Pa Enua immensely.
The watermaker works by removing salt
content from ocean water and making it drinkable. It is able to produce 1.5 to 120 gallons
Usually the vaka crew would take on their
voyages about forty 25 litre plastic containers filled with water. They would
have to ration it for the voyages, and it would only be used for cooking and
drinking. The crew would have salt water rinse offs using a bucket of ocean
water, followed by coconut oil to remove salt from their skin.
Alex Olah, voyager and member of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society, said: “The watermaker will make our logistics so much more efficient, and we will be able to carry more cargo instead of tons of water.” “It’s going to be awesome. One point
“It’s going to be awesome. One point of
life on the vaka is once you leave land you kiss goodbye to fresh water
showers. Now we will be able to produce enough for cooking, drinking, and
possibly that extra little bit of comfort with fresh water showers.”
He said what was most impressive about this watermaker in particular was that it produces so much water, “more than they would need”. This will enable them to help out certain outer islands which they visit with their water supply and quick replenishment where it’s needed.
The crew will also no longer have to use
the water supply from the islands they visit as they will have their own and
will even be able to share. Rakahanga and Penrhyn are two islands in particular
which the crew have noticed to struggle often with their water supply.
The water making device was initially
meant to be ready for the Northern group voyage the vaka undertook last year,
which was the biggest Cook Islands voyage that had ever been done.
However, with freight and shipping
problems caused by the global pandemic it wasn’t possible. Nevertheless, the Society
is beyond excited to have it ready for the many big things they have lined up
They will be launching a range of
educational projects and will be looking into doing many more Pa Enua voyages,
as well as vaka training and upskilling for Cook Islanders. The vaka being
currently in Aitutaki will make its first voyage of the year back to Rarotonga
and will get up and running with its next voyage to Suwarrow for the rat
eradication programme alongside Te Ipukarea Society.
The Society said: “2022 will be all about
doing things within our waters, lots of Pa Enua voyages, and Cook Islanders
trainings and upskilling.”