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October 9, 2011

The Spirit of the Sea - Pacific Voyagers


What a great inspiration! Unknown in advance, I had seen the Pacific Voyagers and seven boats at Monterey Bay, California!

August 13, 2011, late afternoon sun shone on the weekend Monterey beach. I saw some unusual boats, actually ancient looking boats, mostly like the boats made by Maori people from New Zealand, anchored to the beach in the bay.

I was so attracted by the beauty of those boats, and a couple of handsome sailors paddling people back and forth from the beach to the boats. I didn't want to miss this good opportunity, and started shooting...

A local lady chatted with me that these were Pacific Voyagers - a group of Pacific Islanders from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Tonga. They started in April of this year, passing the Marquesas, and Hawaii on their journey.

Also she said that I missed seeing the landing, which was a traditional American Indian ceremony for welcoming friends from afar. A great amount of people watching and it was a quite emotional time for everyone...

The challenging part was how to create this incredible story, also a historical record on canvas(es) to pass the message through my artist's perspective, and to contribute to the community... Took me for almost a month.

Luckily, I was there, saw them, and took some footage... working through the ideas, overcoming all the difficulties, and they are finished now... Using a traditional style, to show my respect for these brave Voyagers who sailed ancient Polynesian vaka moana boats to renew their commitment to healthy ecosystems for future generations.

Please view a better image at:
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-spirit-of-the-sea--pacific-voyagers-i-xueling-zou.html
and
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-spirit-of-the-sea--pacific-voyagers-ii-xueling-zou.html

(from my research, the sources from:
http://www.pacificvoyagers.org
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/08/11/18687421.php
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/12/pacific-voyagers-expedition_n_924842.html#s328023):
"Our mission is simple: Use the wisdom of our ancestors, combined with modern science, to propel us into a more sustainable future, help heal our injured ocean, raise awareness, and to revive our cultural traditions of voyaging. Demographically, our crews vary. We have come together from many islands, men and women, young and older, to sail our seven vaka as one," the group explained...

Pacific Voyaging began when the world’s first seafarers set off in vaka moanas, ocean canoes, from Asia, most likely South China, in the hopes of finding other lands. They found New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands first. Thousands of years later, the ancestors continued their journey and within 2500 years they reached the more remote Hawaiian Islands, Rapanui, and Aotearoa, establishing communities at each location with the root crops, fruit seeds, and domestic animals they carried on their voyage.

Our amazing voyaging ancestors used only Mother Nature to guide them on their journey. Using only the sun, the stars, wind, waves, clouds, and wildlife as guides, they successfully sailed across the Pacific Ocean and settled our lands. This way of navigating was on the brink of extinction until one individual began to revive the artful skill. Pius Mau Piailug, a Micronesian navigator, afraid of his people losing this skill as a result of westernization, brought his skills to the Polynesian Voyaging Society. He, along with his protégé, HawaiinNainoa Thompson, began to revive the skill. In 1976, they successfully sailed the Hokule’a. Today, we continue reviving this cultural tradition. The crews on our seven vaka moanas learn this skill, honing the craft throughout their journey. We feel honoured to continue in the wake of our ancestors, learning from their ancient wisdom, and venturing forth into the future with a new mission of healing our ocean and a rejuvenated Te Mana o Te Moana, the Spirit of the Sea.http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-spirit-of-the-sea--pacific-voyagers-ii-xueling-zou.htmlhttp://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-spirit-of-the-sea--pacific-voyagers-i-xueling-zou.html

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