After Hundreds of Miles on Open Ocean, Traditional Navigators from Chuuk Land on Guam

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This time of year is good for seafarers because they are able to travel along relatively calm waters. 

Guam – With the official start less than a week away, the arrival of 3 traditional sailing canoes earlier today at the shores of paseo, marked the unofficial start of the festival of the pacific arts…

 

 Mariano Benito is the mayor of Puluwat, an outer island of Chuuk. He is a traditional navigator who along with three canoes, two from Puluwat and one from Houk in outer island Chuuk, made a 4-day journey to Guam for the festival of the pacific arts. Today Benito, reached the shores of Paseo.

 

 

“The departed the island of Puluwat which is 90 miles away from the island which is called Pikelot, that’s the taking off point for all the guys that come out here,” said Benito.  

 

Once on Pikelot, the canoes departed for Guam. Their journey spanned hundreds of miles of Open Ocean.

 

This time of year is good for seafarers because they are able to travel along relatively calm waters. Of course, Benito and his fellow seafarers are here for FESTPAC but the navigator tells PNC that he hopes to inspire young Pacificans to make the journey he made to learn more about the culture of the pacific islands.

 

“That’s the sole reason why he came out here, to participate in the art festival, he’s hoping it will be a running point for us Pacificans to muster cultural revival and interest in the hearts and minds of young Pacificans, especially at times like this when we experience the impact of transculturation,” said Benito.

 

Transculturation is the term coined by Cuban Anthropologists Fernando Ortiz to explain the different stages and results of cultural contact among people brought together by colonial expansion.

 

But Benito tells PNC that he doesn’t just want young pacific islanders to learn about his journey, he wants them to experience all the hardships and joys that come with long, sea-faring journeys.

 

“He wants to show people here how to travel on sailing canoes, the hardships, the challenge, but he wants them to be on board to actually feel it, the ferocity of the wind, the rocking of the canoes of the wind by the weights and all that,” said Benito.

 

Joe Quinata is a Guam resident who was on hand to witness the docking of the canoes.

 

“Seeing these people and their journey coming from where there from to here on our small island just to be part of this festival of the pacific,” says Quinata.

 

The event was a joyous one as scores of local residents and family members waited anxiously for the go ahead to greet the traveling canoes…once the customs papers cleared, the crowd, made up of friends and extended relatives ran. Head on, into the ocean to give the navigators a celebratory tackle–a tradition given to all seafarers as they return from their journey.