Wednesday, February 15, 2012


A vessel of admirable speed and agility

Known to westerners as the "flying proa," the sakman awed European explorers as their huge ships were greeted by hundreds of sakman that seemed to fly on the waters surrounding the Marianas.  These European ships would be surrounded by the sakman on all sides with our ancestors yelling at the Europeans to trade, especially asking for lulok (iron).

Though simple in material and design, the sakman was expertly suited to seafaring.  They could be as long as 40 feet and sail as fast as 20 knots (that's 23 mph for us land lubbers).

With the steep decline in population and a new focus on land cultivation under the Spanish, the use of the sakman declined.  They were still around, though, in 1742 when the British Lord Anson visited Guam.

In San Diego, which has a large (perhaps the largest?) concentration of Chamorros in the U.S. mainland, a group of Chamorros have built a sakman.  The CHELU organization gave it full support.

The San Diego Sakman
in achote red!

It took several years for this project to realize its dream.  But there was a lot of support and pride involved, and in 2011 the sakman was completed.  It was featured at an event in Long Beach and also at the San Diego Maritime Museum.

Mario Borja, Fred Blas and Joey Cepeda

Chamorro Sakman in California Waters

Para mås infotmasion, atan guennao gi

Para todos hamyo ni Chamorron San Diego - Enorabuena yan Biba Chamorro!

~~~San Diego Sakman photos courtesy of Tara Blas

1 comment:

  1. Si Yu'os Ma'ase, Pale Eric! CHE'LU in San Diego and the crew of the Sakman Chamorro appreciate you for shining a light on our project.