Crew Blog | Nāʻālehu Anthony: 325 Days to Go

Naalehu AnthonyWritten by Nāʻālehu Anthony

Current conditions:

  • About an hour before sunrise
  • More than 4500 miles travelled in the last 24 hours and counting

Current location:

  • Hawaiian Airlines Flight 50
  • 37,000 feet somewhere above Grand Rapids
  • Mach .798

Nine Leg 22 crewmembers departed Honolulu some 8 hours ago headed for JFK airport in New York. From there, we will make our way to Maine to meet the Leg 21 crew to take over sailing Hōkūle’a for the next several weeks. Our responsibility is to take Hōkūle’a a little farther up the East Coast, picking her up in Mount Desert, ME and sailing to Nova Scotia. This will be the farthest North our mama canoe has ever sailed in her 41 years of exploration around the planet.


Staring at the monitor in front of me, the contrast is too great not to serve as IMG_8506an important lesson: We travelled more than 4000 miles today, a distance that would take Hōkūle’a and her crew more than month to accomplish.  Of course, this Airbus A330 (appropriately named Makali’i) has a few more horsepower than any sailing vessel. The speed at which we are traveling – and the generosity of Hawaiian Airlines (thank you!) – allows our crew to cycle into port about every 5-8 weeks, where ever she may be.  Rested.  Ready.  We are here to test the theory that the journey really is better than the destination.   While most of us operate at warp speed (or at least Mach .798) in our daily lives, getting on the canoe is an important reminder that the really great experiences in life take time.   As a crew member, I used to experience a kind of whiplash trying to slow down to the rhythm on wa’a, coming in from the speed of regular life.  Since then I have learned to cope with the transitions a little better, though “reentry” after the long trips is still a challenge.

26,000 miles already sailed, more than 2 years since we departed Hawai’i… However you want to count the last 780 days of this voyage, one thing is for sure – it has been an epic voyage.  While we sail only 80-150 miles a day, the stops that we have made make up the mana of the voyage.   There are expatriates from Hawai’i that have found their way to the canoe “just to touch a part of home”.   There are the curious onlookers IMG_8504who cannot fathom that we “sailed that around the Cape of Africa???” And then there are those who can feel her mana reverberating; those who, although they might be seeing Hōkūleʻa for the first time, find her familiar, an echo of their own sacred spaces. Be it Pape’ete or Pagopago, Tonga or Tangier Island, Cocos Keeling or Cuba, this voyage has interacted with hundreds of thousands of people around the planet, millions of you count the clicks on the interwebs and people who watch the videos or read the blogs. If we were so inclined, we could maybe bask in the wake of what we have accomplished so far and try to measure the impact from it — except, we haven’t completed the mission yet.   We’re still thousands of miles from our destination.  We still have over 300 days to go before we get to Kualoa, Hōkūle’a’s home.

Given that, the question I have for everyone reading this is: what are we going to do with the next 325 days (give or take a dozen due to weather and other environmental conditions) to make sure we come home to a better place? Hōkūle’a may be the inspiration to do something extraordinary, but every one of the hundreds of thousands she has touched needs to be the engine to bring that inspiration to action.  That is our mission; simply to Mālama Honua and leave our spaces better than we found them.

Help fund the Voyage as we sail the East Coast

Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

Celebrate with us by pledging your support to the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

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