Hōkūleʻa Update | December 29, 2015

By: Bruce Black

After Hōkūleʻa departed Cape Town and celebrated her very first Mele Kalikiwaʻa at sea, the crew has been reporting good sailing, fishing, and spirits – Happy Holidays indeed!

Day 4 (December 27) was a good sailing day for both Hōkūleʻa and Gershon II. We are averaging about 7 knots on 15-20 mph SSE winds and small seas of 4 feet, with clear skies all day. It was a great day to fine-tune our steering skills. The watch teams are all working really well together. We have been eating very well thanks to Gary; today we caught a 12 pound mahimahi, it was delicious.  The evening brought cloud cover and made it cooler, luckily we have foul weather gear, boots, cap and gloves.  We could still see some break-through stars, and steered by what stars were visible and by the moon.

The morning of Day 5 (December 28) it warmed up. We caught a nice 22-pound big-eye tuna….excellent eating. Kealoha cut ʻem up nice and everyone was in high spirits. Gary cooked the fish four different ways: poke, poisson cru, fried and in a soup – amazing as always. Winds are steady 15 mph SSE, small seas of 4-6ft.  Everyone is in good health, all sleeping better and getting into routines. On my watch I notice that we are communicating about the steering without talking…. we’re all beginning to think the same way, in tune with he waʻa, in the zone. It seems to be the same with the other watches, too.

The afternoon brought us in proximity to an Ethiopian ship, Emperor V, a big trawler plowing it’s way up the coast.  We also saw a few other ships in the distance.  The night was cloudless and chilly – the coldest night yet – a great night for stars.  We got good look at the stars, and Kaleo Wong pointed out the path to guide us there that is fixed in his mind.  Under Captain Bruce’s command, we will be starting the navigational section of this voyage and will be following Navigator Kaleo Wong’s studious directions to Saint Helena and beyond.  Captain Bruce gave us a pep-talk about steering an accurate course, staying focused, and working as a team.

At about 3:00am this morning (Day 6, December 29), the fog rolled in and has been with us all day.  Gershon II  sounded it’s fog horn for practice, and we have been monitoring ships in the area. Winds were about 15mph with small 4-ft seas, good sailing. Fishing was also good today – six kamanu (rainbow runners) came on the lines; we let two go, lost one and pulled in a 5-pounder and 7-pounder before pulling in the lines for the day.

As I write this, weʻre going at about 5-knots; this afternoon we are turning west towards St. Helena.  We have had six days to refine our steering, and are all looking forward to the challenge of pulling the island from the sea.

-Bruce Black on behalf of Leg 16 Crew

Please help keep us sailing for future generations. All contributions make a difference for our voyage. Mahalo nui loa!

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