Partager l'article ! Outstanding Women sailing on Hine Moana. (Episode 1): Nothing about Diana Tchung, a 52 years old Polynesian woman, ever suggested that one day sh ...
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Nothing about Diana Tchung, a 52 years old Polynesian woman, ever suggested that one day she might sail among the Pacific Voyagers, and that she would be part of an experimental project, both pedagogical and environmental, initiated by Dieter Paulmann, a German businessman. From the beginning of the year 2012 until November 2012, seven traditional Polynesian canoes, representing 7 Pacific countries, will be sailing across the Pacific Ocean. Faafaite, meaning « reconciliation » in Tahitian, is the French Polynesian canoe on which Diana is actually sailing.
Diana confessed to me « I’ve always been seasick, I never thought I would ever love sailing ». Her husband is Jean-Claude Teriierooiterai, a man who has a passion for Tahitian culture and who recently pieced together the Tahitian Stars map.
About three weeks ago, for the route Bora Bora-Aitutaki, Diana changed crew and left the canoe Faafaite for Hine Moana, a canoe on which the crew was exclusively composed of women.
That is the first event of a kind in contemporary Polynesian sailing. Diana’s experience on the canoe changed her way of perceiving life and after 5 days of traditional sailing with Polynesian women from other Pacific Nations, womanhood on the sea had an absolute other dimension and strenght to her and her mates.
« A crew exclusively composed of women, that was so unhoped for ! »
Diana was both talking and smiling in the same time, as she talked to me about her experienced. Once she started, she just couldn’t stop, she was so into it, that even though she was seated in front of me, her mind was still on Hine Moana.
« It started in Bora Bora, in the morning, our captain Duncan Morrison gathered us in a meeting. He looked at me and simply asked ‘Diana, would you be interested in joining a women crew from Bora Bora to Aitutaki?’. Aitutaki is an island, north east of Rarotonga, it’s part of the Cook islands. I accepted right away. To compose the crew, they had to chose two women from each canoe, and we were supposed to be 16 crew members. Magnus who is Captain and responsible for the flotilla, would be in charge of safety on Hine Moana, but the real captain was to be a woman. Her name was Onaufo, a beautiful woman from Tonga, who had a great presence and an extraordinary charisma.
I can’t explain really why I was so enthusiastic about sailing a traditional canoe with a crew exclusively composed of women. I just thought it was wonderful, that we, women, had to make it on our own on a traditional canoe, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, without any men. That was a challenge… but you know, it was already a challenge to sail with men, but then a women crew, that was unhoped for. »
While she was talking, I was recording her, and the waitress had already served us with Poisson cru lait de coco (raw fish with coconut milk). Yet Diana was obviously not very hungry, neither was I, because I wanted to know more. She kept on talking, uninterrupted.
« I knew Ditter had this particular project with HINE MOANA, he had mentionned it at a seminary at Fare Hape. HINE MOANA belongs to him. But he didn’t say much about it, he didn’t say when and where it would take place. Thus, it was totally unexpected, and so much happiness… And I didn’t even know these women.
Two of us, among the Tahitian crew, were chosen. There has been a meeting at 1PM with all of the women and also each captain from each of the 7 canoes. They told us that the New Zealand women didn’t want to leave their canoe Haunui, therefore there was room left and I asked if an other Tahitian woman from Faafaite could join us : Astrid Hoffman was going to leave the Pacific Voyagers project at Bora Bora, she jumped on the occasion to go on with the trip. It all went fast : At 4PM we were going to be on HINE MOANA, that is only 3 hours after the meeting. »