The Climate Challenger crew found that their itinerary stretched longer because word of the voyage spread, and more villages, particularly in the Solomon Islands, wanted the vessel to visit. Many communities have seen coral bleaching, coastal erosion, gardens not growing well and changes in weather patterns, and appreciated the information about conservation and climate change. Eventually, this led to the crew’s decision to suspend their voyage for now.
“Instead of heading to Nauru and continuing on to the Marshall Islands and Micronesia, the Climate Challenger will be heading back to Manus Island, Papua New Guinea to continue the voyage next year,” Manuai explained on the crew’s blog in early November. “Because the trip has taken longer than anticipated, we are now heading into cyclone season in the Pacific and would be attempting to cross the largest stretches of ocean so far in the voyage which is just too risky.”
The rest of the Climate Challenger voyage is now planned for summer 2013, if the crew can secure adequate funding.
Below is an excerpt of Manaui’s post about the crew’s homecoming:
It was around 8 a.m. the 5th of Dec, 2012; we set sail making 10 knots as we sailed into Pere, our home. I could see a crowd of waiting friends, families and loved ones flocked the shore of Pere village and could hear echoes of garamut filtering through my ears as we sailed in. On the reef were 4 canoes decorated with sago palms waiting to escort us to the beach front. It was the seafaring canoes performing traditional guard of honor. I kept my video camera rolling, filming every action. We also dressed in our traditional attire dancing to the beat of garamut as we sailed in.
It will be a big welcome celebration, I thought to myself. The beat of garamut rocked Pere as dancers dressed in traditional attire dancing in to meet us as the sea faring guard of honor escorted us ashore. The flower girls rounded us putting laces around our neck and proceeded to meet village Chiefs, councilors and church elders lined up to receive us. In every corner I could hear people shouting and cheering. Everyone is so proud and happy to see us back safe. I kept on shooting videos getting every action. Crews were rounded up by their immediate families shaking hands, chatting, crying and could see tears of joy everywhere.
It was a proud moment of my life. The challenges, the sleepless night and stressful hour are over but the voyage is not over yet. It is indeed a relief. We are finally back home and reunited with families.
Check the crew’s blog for updates and to learn how to support the rest of the sail.