Alingano Maisu, a traditional sailing canoe gifted to Micronesia’s traditional navigators, embarked on its 16th voyage on April 31, 2023,  traveling from Palau to Yap, Guam, and Saipan, stopping over in several smaller islands of the Federated States of Micronesia on the way. 

At the desiil (farewell) ceremony held by the Micronesian Voyagers Society at Drop Off Bar & Grill yesterday, High Chief Reklai Bao Ngirmang tasked Alingano Masiu’s captain and crew to drop flowers into the deepest part of Palau trench, near Kayangel State, to commemorate the departure of late navigator Kurt Ngiraked, who recently passed away.

High Chief Reklai, joined by the Rubekul Belau, gave a farewell message to the crew of Maisu, encouraging them as sailors to be strong out in the open sea, especially in mind and heart when difficulties arise, and to bring back the good stories and leave the bad ones behind.  “Be the role model the young ones will look up to when you return,” urged Reklai.

Captained by Master Navigator Sesario Sewralur, Maisu left with eleven (11) crew members, consisting not only of Micronesians but also American and Japanese nationals.  Along the way, it will pick four (4) more crew members, three (3) from Saipan and one (1) from Yap, totaling 15 crew members.  On the return trip, two of the crew will disembark in Saipan, and thirteen will return to Palau.

The traditional art of sailing in the Pacific, revived by the grand master navigator from Satawal,  Mau Piailug, lives on through his son Sesario Sewralur and the gift of Alingano Maisu, which continues the teaching of traditional navigational skills to the next generations of Micronesians. 

The Micronesian Voyaging Society organized the farewell event. Palau Community College conducts the Traditional Non-Instrumental Navigation Program and hosts the Alingano Maisu when it is not sailing.

As a formal farewell for voyagers, the event was ushered in by Esols (traditional chant), witnessed by the Council of Chiefs, and addressed by High Chief Reklai and President Surangel Whipps Jr.  Ngardmau young male dancers entertained with a ruk (men’s dance).  Before and after the formal ceremony, guests were entertained with soulful ballads from local talents Beckwin Mechol and Iked Etpison.

The fifteen crew members of Alingano Maisu on this 16th voyage are Captain Sesario Sewralur, Miano Sowraenpiy, Allen Yalisman, Landon Keonie Sewralur, Snyder Sarofainam Taisakan, Jada Marie Siue Rabauliman, Beouch Ogumoro Ngirchongor, Gregoria Kaipat Olopai, Irvin Terence Limes Olopai, Kazuyo Hayashi, Mario Jacob Benito, Latoya Ruth Lniyo Cantu, Mitchell Myron Olopai Sablan, Leslie Gulibert and Rilang Roberto.

Alingano Maisu and its crew are expected back in Palau in mid to late July 2023.

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