The Haka Waka

About a month ago, one line in the daily schedule of events said the sign-up for the shipbuilding contest was the next morning. Captain Sandy signed us up. Since then in our spare time, we have been building a Maori themed catamaran, loosely like the one in the movie, Moana. The rules were that it had to float, it had to carry at least a pound of cargo, we could not use ship’s linen, and a panel of judges would evaluate for creativity. Haka is the Maori word for warrior and waka is the word for ship, so we called our ship the Haka Waka. Today was judgement day.

Just before we started on the ship, Sandy attended a lecture by the compliance officer where she learned that the hats that are used for gala nights create the most non-re-cyclable waste. We decided to make our ship out of used hats and at least re-cycle them once. The floatation devices in the black bags beneath the deck are six derby hats. The deck is made from straw hats that I took apart. The sail is made from a used paper bag and masking tape. Wan, our wonderful cabin steward, helped in a number of ways, getting us lumber for the deck frame and three different kinds of tape and drilling holes for me to use for the mast and rudder. A number of our Road Scholar participants helped get us supples. I made all of the rope out of used yarn from the Linus project. I learned to crochet and practiced on this yarn so it was used. (The Linus project makes blankets for terminally ill children. Now that I have learned on their yarn, I am making a crocheted blanket for the project.) We used a wine bottle for the keel and made the mast from chopsticks. I made an anchor, rope ladder, and multiple cleats. The boom actually moved from side to side as did the rudder. The head of the dining room gave us flowers.

Because it was too large to take through the door in our room once the mast was put in place, final assembly took place this morning on the pool deck. The compliance officer came by and loved it. At one o’clock, our Road Scholar lecturer took a twenty minute break so our group could see that the Haka Waka floated perfectly. Then, six coke cans were added and she stayed up. Finally, the pool pump was turned up and she handled rough seas. We scored thirty out of thirty points, winning by half a point over our chief competitor, a container ship, called Spice Girls. At dinner tonight Sumer, our waiter, had a cake made for us to celebrate our win. It was a fun day at sea. Tomorrow we are off to Sri Lanka and I am back to writing about our amazing world.

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