We all have special dates in our lives, from Birthdays to Anniversaries to Holidays. During this Leg of the Voyage, we will celebrate Five Birthdays on board Hikianalia as we sail home from Tahiti to Hawaiʻi. You might ask – how is celebrating a birthday in the middle of the ocean on board a double-hulled sailing canoe different than celebrating on land? Yesterday was my birthday, and I can tell you what it was like for me.
It was a little different; I didn’t get a text or call from my parents wishing me Happy Birthday, and my wife and children didnʻt wake me up wishing me Happy Birthday either. Instead, I was woken up by my fellow crewmember at 5:30am (canoe time) telling me “time to get up, Mark… it’s time for your watch.” I got out of my bunk as the first few rays of the sun started to reach beyond the horizon, greeted by Happy Birthday wishes by members of the 2am-6am watch.
Some of the gifts I was grateful to receive? We then went thru several squalls, allowing me to have a fresh water bath for my birthday. I also received various snacks throughout the day as birthday gifts from crew members. At home in Hawaiʻi, we usually have a special dinner for birthdays – here on the canoe, our cook Keli prepared a great meal for the crew, and made me a special birthday cake which we ate after the crew sang Happy Birthday to me. The celebration was followed by a great night of sailing, bringing us closer to the equator, which brings us closer to Hawaiʻi.
These are the memories that I will always hold close, that make me appreciate my Family and the wonders of the Earth.
Mālama ʻOhana, Mālama Honua – let us honor and protect both of them.