High Tech Meets Traditional Tech in Yap

Waagey Navy Seabees Canoe Yap Micronesia.jpg

Tuesday, November 27, 2012Navy Seabess & Waagey Canoe

Contact: Habele

Colonia, Yap

US (803) 586-2358

FM (691) 952-5005


High tech met traditional tech when a group of US Navy Seabees pitched  in to help the Waa’gey traditional canoe project in Yap, Micronesia.

The sailors, stationed on Yap as part of a construction civic action  detail, used their powerful lifting equipment and wide-bodied truck to  ferry a massive log to the traditional boat house where it will take  shape as a sailing canoe.

Waagey Navy Seabees Canoe Yap Micronesia ii.jpg

US Navy transports canoe hullOver the course of several weeks, Master Carvers and youth volunteers  with the Waa’gey program had fallen, and carved out, a log in the  jungles of Yap. It will serve as the hull for a traditional Carolinian  sailing canoe. The dugout log -still weighing hundreds of pounds and  measuring more than twenty feet long- was pulled up a trail from the  depths of the jungle to a dirt road by twenty boys using a rope. The  next leg of the trip was the fifteen-mile road into Colonia. That's  where the Waa’gey’s boathouse sits at the edge of the lagoon. The  journey seemed an insurmountable obstacle.

“Thankfully, the US Navy was ready to help!” explained Larry Raigetal of  Waa’gey. “They accomplished in a few minutes a lifting feat that would  have taken us months by hand,” Raigetal continued. “It was a great  chance for us to share information and compare notes on our respective  building techniques and technologies.”

The US sailors raised the hull onto a truck, drove it into Colonia, and  then delivered it to the boathouse. Young men and women presented the  sailors with floral wreaths and gifts of local foods to convey their  gratitude.

Waa’gey is a community-based organization. It aims to uses traditional  skills to confront the social, economic and environmental challenges  faced by the people of Micronesia’s most remote outer islands.

Waagey Canoe Carvers in Jungle Yap State Micronesia.jpg

Canoe carvers in jungles of YapWaa’gey receives financial and material support from Habele, a US-based  charity, which was holding a “listening tour” meeting at the boathouse  when the log arrived on the Navy’s truck. Also present for the delivery  was Nils Winkler, CEO of Yapital, a European-based electronic payments  company. Yapital had donated chainsaws, adze blades and fuel for the  Canoe Project through its ongoing partnership with Habele.

The US Navy Seabee civic action team is working on Yap to fabricate  schools and hospitals, continuing a decades long tradition of American  Government’s investment in core infrastructure for the people of  Micronesia.