Since September 2017, Okeanos has been proud to support and partner with the local indigenous voyaging community of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

For over a year, Okeanos Foundation sponsored sails of the Okeanos Marianas Vaka Motu from New Zealand to Saipan, Saipan to Yap, Guam, Chuuk and other outer islands in the Marianas, offering training and employment to indigenous voyagers while servicing vulnerable communities with sustainable sea transportation.

Have a look at Okeanos Marianas’ impacts

Historic Voyages


Maiden Sail from New Zealand to Saipan
In Fall of 2017, Okeanos Marianas braved over 4,000 miles from Auckland to Saipan, CNMI, training Chamorro & Carolinian sailors along the way. Okeanos Marianas arrived in Saipan on Oct. 2017, greeted with cultural ceremonies performed by members of the CNMI voyaging community.

Yap Canoe Festival
For 21 challenging days, Okeanos Marianas sailed to Yap for the Annual Canoe Festival under the guidance of master navigator Sesario Sewralur, son of Micronesian Pwo master navigator Mau Piailug. This marked the first time CNMI was represented at the summit.

Rota & Guam
Rota marked the first of several CNMI outer islands visited by Okeanos Marianas. The vaka sailed to Rota on October 2017 as a training exercise for crew members and for cultural engagement with the Rota community.

In November 2017, Okeanos Marianas sailed from Rota to Guam to spread the message of cultural revival and recruited crew members. As a commitment to providing sustainable sea transportation to these communities, the crew arranged to bring bicycles to Rota for participants of a local triathlon, as well as lumber for the construction of another canoe in Saipan.

The crew of Okeanos Marianas sailed to the sacred northern island of Pagan, led by nephew of Grand Master Navigator Papa Mau Piailug, Captain Cecilio Raiukiulipiy . The voyage was joined by renown Carolinian navigator Uncle Ali.

In July 2018, Okeanos Marianas voyaged to the remote Caroline island of Satawal, revered as a mecca for traditional navigation. The Yap outer island is the birthplace of Pwo Master Navigator Mau Piailug, along with Okeanos Marianas Captain Cecilio and watch captain Jerry Joseph. Satawal’s Paramount Chief Leo Rcheilug sailed with the crew, who serviced the island with food stuffs and fishing supplies.

Featured CNMI traditional voyaging crew

Captain Cecilio Raikiulipiy
is a traditional navigator and the captain of Okeanos Marianas from 2017-2018.
Born and raised on the Micronesian island of Satawal, Cecilio learned traditional navigation from his uncle, renowned Pwo Master Navigator Mau Piailug. Cecilio is heavily involved with training CNMI sailors in traditional sailing and navigation.

Video: Cecilio Raiukiulipiy, Okeanos Marianas Captain

Jerry Joseph
is a former watch captain of Okeanos Marianas. As the grandson of Pwo Master Navigator Mau Piailug, Jerry learned traditional navigation as a boy growing up in Satawal. In 2018, Jerry trained with Pwo Navigator Peia Patai to so that he can captain Okeanos Vaka Motus.

Tehani Kirby
is CNMI’s only female licensed captain of Refaluwasch descent. Following the devastation of 2018’s Typhoon Yutu & Mangkhut , Tehani played a pivotal role as captain of Okeanos Marianas to deliver disaster relief goods to victims in CNMI.

Cecilia Selepeo
is a Saipan-resident who hails from Pagan island in CNMI. She began working with Okeanos Marianas as a head chef but has continued to learn traditional sailing through the Okeanos-sponsored sails from Saipan.

Video: Crew Profile Cecilia Selepeo

Scottie Suzuki
is a Chuukese sailor who spent most of his life in the mainland US, but returned to his voyaging heritage after joining Okeanos Marianas in Saipan.

Leo Pangilinan
is a Saipan-resident and former Operations Manager of Okeanos Marianas. Leo is of Chamorro descent and has a background in both traditional sailing and academia.

Andrea Carr
is a Saipan-resident who sailed on Okeanos Marianas maiden voyage from New Zealand in 2017. Andrea recently trained with Pwo navigator Peia Patai so that she can captain Okeanos Vaka Motus.