Hōkūleʻa Update | August 15, 2015

Naalehu AnthonyWritten by Naʻalehu Anthony.

The weather here in Bali, Indonesia has been steady for some time and Captain Bruce Blankenfeld is comfortable with the conditions for a noon departure tomorrow with the high tide. A 3,500 mile voyage to Mauritius lies ahead and we are deep into final preparations.

Today our crews are healthy and safe.  It is a busy day with a flurry of activity – some of our travel visas are not quite right and it was going to take a lot of work to correct.  In an extraordinary turn of events, we were able to find a very helpful kupuna who listened to our plea and helped us correct our documentation. This was the break we needed to be able to depart tomorrow with the kind of calm that is needed for this type of departure.

The rest of the crew worked on a ton of last minute items. Last minute checklists include opening and closing the sails to check the freshly bent crab claw sails, a final inventory of water and provisions as well as a final review of safety gear. All minor repairs are complete which includes a brand new tow bridle that was expertly lashed by Kealoha and Kaina. Our escort crew aboard the Gershon II are also ready.

For more than a couple of weeks our crewmembers have been embedded with our hotel’s staff. They are the kindest people you could find and surely have never met a group with such a breadth of special needs: chasing paperwork, sourcing odd items including custom whisker poles for a spinnaker, yarn, bamboo scaffolding, custom sewn malo, and the list goes on and on.  They have never said no, only that they will try and always with a gentle smile and a willingness to attempt.

Our Balinese drivers have been critical to the process too. Their kindness is only matched by their stubbornness to want stay in the background and engage only to be of assistance. Finally, only in the last two nights were we able to wear them down and convince them that they are our family now and that it is a very Polynesian thing to sit, share and eat together as equals. As we prepare to leave each other tomorrow our crew shared small makana and sang our ʻoli mahalo – tears flowed for some, many were just quiet, reflecting.

We continue the next leg of this worldwide voyage tomorrow. Fifteen months in, thousands of miles of ocean having run past Hōkūleʻa’s hulls, farther than we have ever been from home and voyaging further still, we know we are on the right path, the ho’ailona (signs) tell us so. The people we have met in Bali and the way things have worked themselves out, tell us that we must carry on.

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

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