The Sakman Che’lu arrived in Saipan Sunday where it was welcomed by dozens of well-wishers and a group of traditional dancers chanting in Chamorro.
The vessel had to be towed to distance by a powerboat after the Sakman’s rigging was damaged in heavy winds during sea trials off Guam.
Skipper Mario Reyes Borja told K-57’s Patti Arroyo this morning that it was a rough ride and the canoe and the crew took a beating from rough seas.
Mario Reyes Borja, Sakman Che’lu’s skipper, said: “We encountered 30-foot waves from Guam to Rota. We were tossed around … by gosh, we’re too small, we’re just like an atom in the whole universe. Man, that Pacific Ocean is rough and tough and hard to bluff.”
The Sakman Che’lu was built in San Diego and shipped to Guam for the Festival of Pacific Arts in 2016.
It was presented to “500 Sails,” a CNMI non-profit dedicated to restoring the maritime traditions in the Marianas.