Friday, August 03, 2007

Chasing the Ana

Taiguey to ALL our people,

This is to keep you informed as to the progress of Taino Almestica and voyage partner Derrick Mayoleth’s attempt to circumnavigate via Kayak the beautiful island of Boriken.

For those of you who may not know him, Taino has been involved with our restoration efforts for many, many years. He resides in New York, but his roots on the island are extensive. One of his goals is to bring attention to our existence as a people. Taino is a member of Guabancex Wind and Rain Society. Our organization is dedicated to learning, researching, and disseminating information on our material culture, folklore, language, etc to everyone. Most important, to our own Caribbean people on the islands, in the USA and wherever they may be spread, across the four directions.

Bo Matum
Jorge Baracutei Estevez

Tuesday, July 31, 2007
driving on the rooftop

Thanks to Carrie Medina of Kayak Scuba we had a great time on the beach at Punta Salinas in Levittown. I had my first chance to look at how my Alaw Bach survived the trip and sad to see a small bit of damage to the gelcoat in the tail section. The boys at American Airlines must have dropped somthing pretty heavy on it. Luckily it did not break through the glass and I could make a quick repair. With that done Taino and I took our kayaks out for their first dip in the warm Atlantic waters. Playing in up for the cameras and occasionally catching glimpses of the coastline disappearing into the distant west. We brought our kayaks up to the beach and prepared for the blessing. With a small candles and ritual smoke Uatibili Baez, the Spiritual leader of Movimiento Indigina Jibaro Boriqua, ( gathered us into a circle. Our hands reached out to one another's hands. Carrie, her children, Jose, Nydia, Taino, Yvonne and myself stood quietly on the warm sand as he passed around inside the circle performing a ritual blessing passed down through generations. When the blessing was complete you could sense everyone in the circle let go of a breath as if their engeries were pushing the blessing along.Later we gathered at Carrie & Jose's home in Levittown where we can bunk down for the night. Taino and I took a few moments to look over our battle plans for the first few days and discussed an interesting weather forecast that may force our first couple days short. But we're chomping at the bit to get moving.In a night of fun, good food, and laughter, Carrie took a few moments to paint her son's initials on my kayak. We paused just for a moment to take it in, before moving on to the party at hand. Taino had an early night and I am getting ready to sleep myself. But something unique. I'm setting up my tent on the rooftop of their house. Tonight I will sleep on a rooftop, under a bright full moon, litttle clouds and starts in Levittown, Puerto Rico. Tomarrow the sea calls. . .* sorry no pictures this evening. The bloody computer I'm on won't read discs. LOL! But hey, I'm happy for the connection!

Chasing the Ana:
Levittown Puerto Rico, August 1, 2007, 10:00 am, Team Post - Day One A slightly delayed launching of ''Chasing the Ana Puerto Rico 2007''

Officially took off as a communications radio announces afternoon predicted thunderstorms, and a small craft advisory with swells 5 to 7 feet. The launch, originally scheduled for 6 am, was delayed due to an inability to access the put-in until after 8:30am.''Great way to start an expedition'' said Derrick Mayoleth, as paddling partner Taino Almestica waits in calm waters of a protected bay for Mayoleth to secure his gear and get in the water.Almestica and Mayoleth met face to face for the first time just the day before at the home of José Quiñonez of where they went over ocean charts, discussed possibilities and shared a beer in anticipation of the next 28 days of sun and water.Ground support crew Nydia Kien of Wisconsin, Yvonne R. Le Guillou of Guayama, PR, Carrie Medina, and José Medina of San Sebastián, PR arranged for lodging, food, transportation, interpretation, last minute gear, and a blessing ceremony by Uatibili Baez of the day before.When asked why he was taking on such an expedition, Almestica said, ‘’ I am not doing this for self recognition, but for the Taino people… the younger people who will be watching this. I want them to say, ‘I saw his circumnavigation of our homeland, and I know my ancestors paddled these same seas, and I think I can do it faster or better’.’’ Almestica said, ‘’I want to inspire the Taino youth to reclaim their ancestral culture.’’ This expedition was originally planned by Mayoleth who has the hope of ‘’Bridging the cultural gaps between Puerto Rico and the USA.’’ From the words of ground support crew member Carrie Medina, ‘’It is doing just that, even before the launch day, as peoples from 3 differing cultures (Indio, Puerto Rico and midwest USA) and 2 countries are coming together developing bonds of friendship, enhanced by our differences.’’

Chasing The Ana Team Blog Day Two
Foto by Nydia Kein, ground support team Manati, Puerto Rico, August 2, 20079pm, Team Post - Day Two.

Almestica & Mayoleth have made it to the shores of the small city of Manati and are camping in front of the ancient burial grounds on Playa Esperanza. Mayoleth is a bit sunburned, but the men are doing well. 2 days of paddling in 5-7 foot swells has positioned them a bit short of the hope of reaching Arecibo by today, but the afternoon of the 3rd should find them at the mouth of Rio Grande de Arecibo. ''It's been windy and cold at night, so at least we haven't had a problem with mosquitos,'' said Almestica. To see a map of the possible and actual landing places follow this link.

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