By Lori Lyn Lirio
AFTER 25 days of voyage into the open sea, the Okeanos Marianas successfully returned to Saipan on July 24, it was learned today.
Canoe Federation chairman Rey Tebuteb said there were 15 people on board when they left on June 29. The journey was headed by Captain Cecilio Raiukiulipiy.
According to Tebuteb, they encountered two weather disturbances that delayed their journey on different islands.
Okeanos Marianas sailed to different islands of Chuuk and Yap, including Gaferut, West Fayu, Satawal, Paluwat and Pulusuk, before heading to their final destination – Tinian.
In an interview, Tebuteb said the voyage was significant because the Okeanos Marianas sailed without using the fuel for the entire journey.
“Okeanos sailed without using the fuel for the entire voyage. It ran on a 100 percent fossil-fuel free, using only coconut oil engine, solar and wind. Soon it will run on hydro – getting energy from the wave,” Tebuteb added.
The group first landed on July 4 at Gaferut. It took them 20 hours to reach Pikelot island on July 5 and arrived on Satawal on July 6. They departed Satawal on July 12 and on their way to Polowat.
“Satawal gave us lots of love and lots of challenges. It was a learning experience and time for growth. We all came out stronger and more resilient. We overcame each obstacle given to us but because of this, the people’s love and caring made the experience not only manageable, but rewarding and pleasant. Satawal is truly a magical island. Thank you for the opportunity to see and experience this island. For some, it was a return home. For others, it was finding their home and roots. Yet for others, it was a first time experience with the hopes to return and learn more,” Andrea Carr, one of the navigators of Okeanos Marianas, said in her report.
From Polowat, the group started to sail on July 15 going to Pulusuk. On July 20, the group left Pulusuk on a stormy weather all through the morning.
“The crew are all in good spirits, though soaked through,” Carr said.
They navigated all the way to Tinian and arrived there on July 22 and met with Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas.
Among the crew was Raiukiulipiy’s nephew Evelinjoel Olopai, 19. He said it was his first time to ride the Okeanos Marianas.
“I learned how to navigate using the stars. My uncle Cecilio discouraged me to rely on the GPS for direction and taught me how to use stars instead.”
He said looking at the stars is more accurate in navigating at the open sea, adding that the GPS is confusing.
“But using the stars, you can see if your boat is heading to a direction where you want it. He told me to choose one star as my guide and concentrate on it. It can tell you if are moving too much to the left or too much to the right,” Olopai said.