Why we are doing this

For those who have recently joined me on this voyage, you may wonder: Why on earth are you doing this? Sailing a sailboat from the Philippines to the Solomon Islands? Who owns the boat? Why is it bought in the Philippines instead of just buying one locally? And who is the crew and why are they chosen? Why did you say no girls allowed? Are you on holiday? I thought you were supposed to be a missionary? A missionary on a Wharram!? That doesn’t sound right… Well, let me try to explain. I will start from the beginning, so if you only are wondering a specific question, feel free to scroll.

Called to the Solomon Islands

For the last 6 years I have traveled back and forth to the Solomon Islands. I used to be a petroleum engineer, but I chose to follow my passion, or my calling, to go to the Pacific to drill water wells. That journey took me to YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in the Solomon Islands where they actually are drilling water wells! YWAM is an international missions organization who wants to know God and make Him known through many ways: like drilling water wells.

Why a sailboat?

In YWAM we believe God directs our path through mysterious ways, and he confirms His calling through other people. In 2020 I decided to committ to YWAM Solomon Islands, and I prayed what my role would be. I sensed a sailboat to be part of it, and after sharing this with the leadership they confirmed that a sailboat is part of their future vision of YWAM Solomons. The leader had looked into building sailboats in the islands, and he had looked at Wharram Designs as an ideal DIY way to do it. The Ethnic designs especially appealed to him, and the dream boat would be a Tama Moana. I must admit that I was not thrilled with the idea at first, but it kind of grew on me. It makes sense: a boat that can be built and repaired locally in the islands will be much more likely to «survive» and multiply in the Solomons.

Building or buying?

Nobody foresaw the pandemic that hit us in 2020, and suddenly I was home in Norway, dreaming of sailboats in the Solomon Islands. In the beginning of 2021 we decided to make a move and start fundraising to build a Wharram Amatasi (pictured above). In this process we stumbled over a Wharram Tama Moana for sale in the Philippines and decided to pursue buying this one first, before starting building boats. After all, it will be hard for people to build a sailboat when you don’t know the value of it. Sailboats are not common in the Solomon Islands, and we need to start from scratch. Having a sailboat to teach locals and show them its value will be a good start!

Why buying one in the Philippines?

The Wharram Tama Moana is a design from the Solomon Islands, which is part of the appeal for us. It is also a very rare boat to see. Our boat was built in 2011 and was plan #10. When I visited Wharram Designs HQ in 2022, they had just sold plan #16 to Hawaii, and I helped them carry this to the builder. So finding a boat like this for sale in the right timing was just too good to pass. The sail from the Philippines to Solomon Islands had been done before by James Wharram himself together with Hanneke Boon and Klaus Hympendal (see lapitavoyage.org). And it dooesn’t seem that far on a map. I will admit I did not see the scale of this when I started, but maybe that is what kept me going.

How I became the captain

I did not see myself as the captain of this voyage when I started planning in 2021. I also did not see it happening in 2024, rather I planned it for 2022. In the beginning I had good contacts with a professional delivery captain who was very excited to help us deliver this vessel to the Solomons. However, things take time, we did not have enough funding, and things delayed. In the end we did not have peace about a professional delivery captain, rather we wanted to find a captain within YWAM. In 2022 I started my RYA logbook and built up miles and experience. I ended up training to be a captain, although in the beginning I didn’t see it myself. After sailing around Fiji, I got a crew together and took delivery of the Vaka Hop’e in the beginning of 2023. We sailed it the first 500 miles to Davao, and this experience showed me that I have what it takes.

How I found my crew

Later in 2023 I was staffing of the School of Navigation and Seamanship in Fiji where we trained islanders and westerners up to the Yachtmaster level over 3 months. (In the fall of 2023 I took my Yachtmaster Offshore practical exam in England). During this school in Fiji, we had our crew on the boat I captained that all had a heart for the Solomon Islands. Sammy had joined me sailing around Fiji the year before, and was back to learn more. Naomi had appeared out of the blue while I was sailing with Sammy the year before and joined us to go to the Solomon Islands. The Solomons captured her heart, and she also loves sailing! She had wanted to be with me on the Vaka Hop’e since 2022, and during the school I was convinced she could do it. Paul showed up in the Solomon Islands in the beginning of 2023 talked about dreams of sailing. I invited him to Fiji, and he showed up, stoked to learn more.

No girls allowed??

If you have watched our youtube video (youtu.be/fRDLMNQd4IU), you may have hear me say «No girls allowed». It’s a short statement that is not fully explaining it. The full story is that Naomi reached out to me in 2022 asking to be crew on the Vaka Hop’e. At that time I did not know her and thought it would be easier to have an all male crew. Especially because our boat has very limited facilities! Like no toilet, little private space, and hardly any comfort. However, when she showed up in Fiji, then in the Solomon Islands (twice!) and then in Fiji again, I realized that she could do it. Shortly after I realized that she is the girl of my dreams, and we started dating. Before setting out on this voyage I wanted to cement our relationship some more and I proposed! Being engaged on a sailboat like this is an excellent test before getting married.

Is this a holiday?

It is a lot of work to be sailing a sailboat. But even more work to keep it ship shape. We have spent many hours to fix up our boat before we left, and there is always something more to do. We are definately not on holiday, but we do try to enjoy the small moment we have of stunning beauty and serenity in between the battles. What we are doing is trying to deliver the Vaka Hop’e to the Solomon Islands this year. And we are in a time crunch! The winds turn against us in May, so I would like to be as far along as possible before that. We are sailing long distances, doing over nights and not stopping for too long. But it is also important to enjoy ourselves along the way, otherwise I don’t think we will make it.

How are you doing this?

Buying a boat and getting it equipped and ready for a voyage is not free. I am not rich, but I have a father God who is! This boat is paid for by people who believe in us and this vision. Genereous donors who support little or much, through fundraising campaigns or word of mouth. I have founded a Norwegian organization who is handling the money and I am currently partnering with YWAM Ships Kona who can receive tax-deductible donations. See more information on how to give through solomons.no/en/donate/. We also have an amazing support team around us that are monitoring our progress and making sure that we are safe out there. Most of all, what keeps us going, is that we have faith that this is something God is calling us and equipping us to do. Time and time again we see things work out that is hard to explain if you take God out of the equation, and that is the confirmation we need to keep going.

Welcome to join!

This voyage to the Solomons is just the beginning. When we arrive there the real work begins! We want to train local Solomon Islanders to sail, use the boat for water well drilling in remote places and build ownership and skills to the locals. We want to build a workshop and start building our own boats soon. If this is something you would want to join in on, send me a message on andaas@outlook.com! Otherwise, please feel free to follow along on our journey on this website, sign up on my newletter, or follow us on social media. Follow me @e.andaas, Naomi @naomijgk and Vaka Hop’e @vaka_hope on instagram for the most up to date updates! Also check out ywamsolomons.org and YWAM Solomons on facebook. Finally, follow our satellite tracker of the voyage: share.garmin.com/G4A29.

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