Join Yarmouth Historical Society on Tuesday, August 29 at 7:00 pm to learn about local connections to traditional navigation and canoe culture. The program is free and open to the public and will be held at Yarmouth History Center at 118 East Elm Street.
In 1889 the “Tewksbury L. Swett” of Yarmouth was shipwrecked in the Caroline Islands of Micronesia. The crew was taken in and ultimately released by a chief to sail home and share their story. Aylie Baker, who grew up in Yarmouth, traveled to the Caroline Islands as a Watson Fellow seeking to understand the relationship between storytelling and ocean stewardship in 2009. There she met her partner, Miano Sowraenpiy of Satawal, who sails on the traditional sailing canoe, the “Alingano Maisu,” under his uncle, Master Navigator (Pwo) Sesario Sewralur. Together with the Micronesian Voyaging Society, Sesario is guiding a movement for the continuance of a navigation tradition that is thousands of years old.
Aylie and Miano will speak about their work supporting the revival of canoe culture in Micronesia and share a little bit about what it is like to sail without compass, maps, or GPS, using only the stars and the heavenly bodies, the paths of migrating sea creatures, and the patterns of wind, cloud, and waves to find their way. After a summer living on an island in the Gulf of Maine, they are excited to share some of the connections they see across maritime traditions and together with attendees explore how recovering wayfinding practice in coastal communities might offer insight and direction for protecting our shared ocean.
Aylie and Miano are helping to raise funds for repairs of their canoe and a summit for Micronesia’s remaining master navigators this fall. Attendees are invited to donate if they feel moved to support.