500 Sails extends its warmest thanks to the campers, counselors, and organizers of NMC-CREES’ 4-H Camp Maga’lahi and the 22nd Tinian Legislative Delegation for a meaningful community outreach event at Tachogna Beach from July 19 to July 21.
On the morning and afternoon of July 20, JSM “Sanjo” Maras, Gabriel Erlet, Andrew Roberto, Uirom Park, and Sophia Gauran provided free canoe rides around Tinian’s southern lagoon for over 40 Camp Maga’lahi Tinian campers. The sailors used the red-sailed canoe Richard Seman and spent hours launching from Tachogna’s white sand, sailing around its crystal-clear water, switching passengers periodically.
500 Sails crew arrived on Tinian on July 19 after launching from the Guma Sakman in Susupe at 6am. Escort safety boat services were provided by Captain Larry Sharry aboard the Weniol. After a few hours of being on the ocean, the crew of the Richard Seman landed on Tachogna beach and immediately made camp. They were very glad to have use of a canopy tent and picnic table from Kana Rental. Maras, Erlet, Roberto, and Park used Kana Rental’s property, in addition to their own personal gear, while camping at Tachogna Beach for the duration of the outreach event.
“Tinian is always a great place to sail,” said Roberto, the nonprofit’s director of Community Programs. “Seeing the campers’ faces light up with enjoyment is probably the most fulfilling part of partnering with Camp Maga’lahi. It’s a highlight of our year to cross the channel over to San Jose to meet up with our friends and passengers on Tinian.”
Roberto added that not only is it worthwhile to sail to Tinian as an outreach event, crossing the Saipan-Tinian Channel also is an opportunity for 500 Sails lalayak and charter sailors to gain bluewater sailing experience, supporting the organization’s mission of Micronesian revival of maritime culture. This most recent bluewater sail was supported by the Voyaging tract of the Cultural Maritime Training Center and augments the Lalayak training that Gauran and Roberto received from prior years of volunteering with the organization. The Lalayak program is an introductory sailing class focusing on using Chamorro canoes, while the CMTC provides job training and professional development opportunities to prepare native jobseekers for successful entry into maritime professions.
The outreach event even served as an opportunity to train Park in canoe sailing. Park was initially brought to Tinian for lifeguard duties, but was granted a chance to assist onboard Richard Seman during Camp Maga’lahi.
Maras and Erlet are veteran seamen who supervised the overall seaworthiness of the crew and canoe during all three days of sailing. They ensured that the vessel was safe and comfortable for passengers, and instructed the crew in techniques to safely sail in the lagoon and open ocean.
At the conclusion of their outreach responsibilities, 500 Sails crew left Tachogna Beach around 7am on July 21, sailing successfully back to Guma Sakman in time for lunch.
Roberto said that support from the 22nd Tinian Legislative Delegation played a large role in the success of this outreach event.
Sen. Francisco Q. Cruz provided funds for canopy tent and car rental; Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider provided funds for a hotel room; Rep. Patrick H. San Nicolas funded camp supplies and food; and Sen. Karl R. King-Nabors funded the fuel for the escort boat.
Juan Atalig, a private resident of San Jose, Tinian, also receives the warm thanks of the 500 Sails crew for the dinner he cooked for them on the night of July 20.
Joan Flores, extension aide for the Family, Community, & Youth Development Program of NMC-CREES Tinian, also gets a special thanks for partnering with 500 Sails for this event.
Captain Larry Sharry’s escort boat service is greatly appreciated by all of 500 Sails, Inc., as is CNMI Homeland Security & Emergency Management for monitoring of the float plan.
500 Sails also thanks the wives, husbands, parents, and other family members who support its lalayak and charter crew. (500 Sails)