AFTER A THREE MONTH epic canoe voyage, Climate Challenger has finally returned home.
It was around 8am, making a steady 10 knots with our sails well set, that we returned to Pere, our home, after a sometimes hazardous voyage that had taken us from Manus deep into the Solomon Islands and back to PNG again, hurrying north just ahead of the cyclone season.
On Pere I could see a crowd of waiting friends, families and loved ones who had flocked to the shore.
Echoes of the steady rhythm of the garamut filtered to my ears as we sailed in through the reef.
Nearby four canoes decorated with sago palms waited to escort us to the beach front. They were the proud seafaring canoes performing a guard of honour.
I kept my video camera rolling, filming every action. It will be a big celebration, I thought to myself. The garamut rocked Pere as traditional dancers danced in to meet us as the guard of honour escorted us ashore.
The flower girls put wreaths around our neck and we proceeded to meet the village chiefs, councillors and church elders who had lined up to receive us.
In every corner I could hear people shouting and cheering.
Everyone was so proud and happy to see us back safe and sound.
The crew members were rounded up by their immediate families - shaking hands, chatting, crying. I could see tears of joy everywhere.
It was a proud moment of my life.
The challenges, the sleepless night and stressful hour were over but the voyage is not over. There is far to go in making our Pacific an environmentally secure place.
It was indeed a relief to be on Pere.
We are finally back home and reunited with our families.