Today is Saturday, Nov 17, and our first day with the complete crew for Leg 4 of the “Alahula Kai o Maleka” voyage. Our Pwo Navigator, Bruce Blankenfeld arrived last night and today we enjoyed a training sail with literally hundreds of other vessels outside of Point Loma, San Diego.
All week, our hosts at the San Diego Maritime Museum have been asking if we could participate in a highly anticipated sailing event happening this weekend – the Star of India opening her sails for the first time in five years. The Star of India is a majestic, three-masted, full-rigged iron windjammer ship, built in 1863 on the Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea. She spent most of her career sailing between Great Britain, India, and Aotearoa, but also spent a portion of her career transporting primarily sugar, coal, and lumber throughout the Pacific. For a portion of her life she sailed under the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi which is why our Hawaiian flag, is still flying on the foremast today. In total, she has sailed around the world 21 times!
Soon after 9am, we followed the Star of India, San Salvador and other beautiful and historic sailing vessels out to Point Loma where we enjoyed the blue skies, warm sun, and chilly winds. On both the starboard and port side we gawked at the aircraft carriers, a large NOAA ship, a submarine in drydock, as well as many sailing vessels heading out to enjoy the historic sail or to participate in an afternoon race. We were not only flanked by vessels, but also seals playing in the water and launching up onto the red and green channel marker boueys to sunbathe. While the other vessels went as far out as five miles beyond the point, our crew spent time opening, reefing, and closing sails. It was our first opportunity to train with our watch crews and watch captains lead by Moani Heimuli from Oʻahu, Kalani Kahalioumi from Moku o Keawe, and Moku Chandler from Kauaʻi.
After coming into port and later observing the process of docking a ship as large as the Star of India, we enjoyed a delicious vegetarian chili prepared by our legendary cook, Gary Yuen. Following dinner we completed the day with more training which was centered around Uncle Bruce’s wise words and the quote he shared by Louisa May Alcott, “I am not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” We are learning to sail our waʻa, by day and night, from California to Hawaiʻi, under the leadership and companionship of our kupuna, our waʻa, and our crew.