Two weeks into our huakaʻi, we have experienced many ups and downs, good times and bad. There have been lots of lessons learned from a navigation standpoint, paying attention to the weather and all the many things ʻanakala Bruce teaches us. Through all of this, there have also been many hōʻailona to witness and to interpret as we make our way home. From timely anuenue, to majestic sunrise and sunset clouds foretelling the next days’ weather, and daily visits from a few feathered friends.
Our friendly bird visitors have been especially welcoming and a continuing reminder of our cultural and spiritual roots to voyaging and navigation. One of these birds, a koaʻe ʻula, visits every so often to assure us we are on the right track and things are going to be ok. The koaʻe, or tropicbird, also happens to be our navigator Haunani Kane’s favorite bird, often visiting her on her various voyages.
Another continuing daily visitor has been a kaʻupu, who seems to follow us throughout the day, and has become our protector for the voyage. These kaʻupu, black-footed albatross, live at sea for the first 5 years of their lives and later only returning to land for several months out of the year to mate. From a cultural standpoint, their return coincides with the makahikimonths (November – January/February) and the return of the god Lono to Hawaiʻi. It is very fitting to us to be accompanied and guided by this kinolau of Lono as we approach Hawaiʻi, as they are often an important aspect of the makahiki ceremonies currently occurring for certain communities across the paeʻāina.
The kaʻupu and the other signs of Lono experienced through some of our rainy conditions are reminders that the knowledge of our kūpuna continues to hold true. And in order for us to truly be great navigators, voyagers, and Hawaiians like our ancestors, we must always pay attention to those hōʻailona and the lessons left to us.
The crew continues to be in great sprits, laughing and joking throughout the day, eating soda crackers, granola bars, and cookies as fast as they arrive on deck, and enjoying Komine’s Saimin Shop at 3am. Family and friends are always talked of through it all, and while we enjoy our time together, we also look forward to seeing everyone at home soon.