Combining traditional knowledge with modern technology

By Sina Filifilia Sevaaetasi ,

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Kelly Elliot (far right)with the Vaiala Beach Primary School after their tour of the Okeanos Explorer.

Kelly Elliot (far right)with the Vaiala Beach Primary School after their tour of the Okeanos Explorer. (Photo: U.S. Embassy)

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.) is in Apia Harbor as part of a joint deep-water research mission between America and Samoa

Onboard the ship is engineer and videographer with the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration, Dan Rogers.

Rogers is also well versed in the ancient history of Polynesian celestial navigator and gave an interesting presentation Friday night at the Yacht Club drawing comparisons between ancient and modern ocean exploration, including deep sea robotics. 

 Mr. Rogers also did a unique platform to be able to discuss both traditional and modern navigation in depth through his experience sailing aboard the Hokulea.  

He also has extensive background in deep sea exploration and Polynesian celestial navigation. 

Rogers previously worked at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii as a science educator and planetarium. 

“The Museum received a grant to work with the Polynesian Voyaging Society to create Polynesian content,  and was asked to create a planetarium show to teach the public the ways the Polynesians used to find the islands that are now inhabited,” he said.  

“I want to show people from Samoa some things about how  to  explore the  deep ocean outside of the island. 

I also want to show people who are not Samoan, how Polynesians explored the surface of the Pacific Ocean.” 

The presentation then covered the extensive history of Polynesian seafaring dating back 5,000 years up until present day.  

Expedition  Manager on Board the Okeanaos, Kelly Elliot, detailed the importance of the vessels research in Samoa’s vast and unexplored waters.

She said, “Okeanos is the U.S.’s first and only federal ship dedicated to the purpose of exploring the open ocean. 

It is the only ship of her type and its a pretty special opportunity.  

We’re in the middle of five cruises dedicated to exploring and collecting deep water information in poorly known areas both in U.S. marine protected areas and 

“Our motto is always explore whether we’re in the open waters. We’re always focused on ensuring that  we’re collecting data that is meaningful.

“We’re very pro.

“We’re working with Samoa and S.P.R.E.P. to coordinate and create outreach activities with Samoa, Tokelau, Kitabit and the Cook Islands.”

“one of the challenges we face when we were exploring was how do we tie deep water exploration to Samoan culture? 

The presentation was made possible through the collaboration of Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration, Samoa Voyaging Society, N.O.A.A. and the United States Embassy in Apia.

The Charge D’Affairs of the American Embassy, Angelina Wilkinson added, “With all of our traditional knowledge  which is something very dear to the Samoan culture and identity, Cultural preservation is a top priority for the U.S. Embassy in Apia.

We have been avid supporters of the Samoan Voyaging Society, most notably assisting in certifying Samoa’s first voyaging Capitan and training the local sailors on board the Gaualofa.” 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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