YAP VOYAGING CANOES SET OUT FOR GUAM

News Release

FSM Consul General Hagatna, Guam April 29, 2010

Two traditional outrigger canoes set sail from Yap on Monday morning for Guahan [Guam] as part of the continuing celebration of Yap Day.

as part of the continuing celebration of Yap Day. The Yap Day celebrations officially took place last weekend but due to the weather, the canoes were not able to depart until 10 am Monday from Lamotrek in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

According to former Governor of Yap Robert Ruecho, who is an advisor to the Yapese Federation of Guam, it will take approximately four days for the canoes to travel to Guam, depending on wind and weather conditions. The canoes are expected to arrive at the Paseo in Hagatna on Thursday evening or on Friday, though lack of radio communication makes determining an exact date and time impossible.

Each canoe is each carrying a cell phone equipped with Guahan service so that as soon as the crews can physically see Guahan, they will contact the Federation so that a proper welcoming ceremony can be held. A traditional welcoming ceremony includes decorating the canoes and crew with young coconut leaves. This is followed by crew members sipping the juice from a young green coconut that is pierced with a specially sharpened stick. The canoes are also treated to the beverage, as coconut juice is poured over each by the Master Navigator, who will also conduct a traditional Yapese chant.

There are 22 individuals amongst the Yapese crews. The first canoe has a crew of twelve, including Master Navigator Ali Haleyalur, who is guiding both vessels. The second canoe hosts a crew of ten, including Chief Bruno Tharngan. The Chief is a Master Canoe Builder who is currently learning the skill of navigating.

Following the traditional welcome, the crew will be greeted by various dignitaries including Governor Camacho; the FSM Consul General; a Chief from Yap; the chairman of TASI, Senator Ben Pangelinan; and the president of the Yap Federation of Guam. The public is invited to attend, although it will not be possible to provide an exact time for the event until the crew is able to contact Guahan as they make their approach.

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