Today we all stayed on board Hōkūleʻa to take care of minor maintenance such as dropping our rig to check the anchor light and washing the deck of the canoe so we can leave Cocos with a clean house. There is always some work to be done on lines and sails, and it’s an ongoing process to keep the ship in shape. Any of these things could have been done later, but we had a day to spare and there is a genuine commitment by this crew to leave the canoe better than we found her.
We consider Hōkūleʻa to be our home while we voyage. But we also know that we are guests here, and this vessel will be the home for another 11 individuals in a month. That said, we have a responsibility to keep the canoe in the best working order not only for ourselves, but also for those who come after. The Leg 13: Darwin to Bali crew is a great example of that perspective. When the majority of our crew had to wait in Australia because of volcanic activity, the Leg 13 crew, who were still in Bali, made sure that Hōkūleʻa was ready for our crew to arrive and get underway as soon as possible. They loaded all the food and water for us as well as preparing all the communications and safety gear. They even repainted portions of the deck where the nonskid had worn down. They did all of this because they are all committed to leaving the canoe better than they found it.
The same translates to our visits on land during the voyage. You’ll see crew lending a hand to fix something at a host church or school, or we’ll clean the beach where we moor the canoe. Simple thoughtful actions for others are sometimes the most impactful. Other times it’s just showing some aloha to our hosts by cooking the meal to say thank you. This kind of thoughtful action is mālama honua, and it’s what we practice while aboard Hōkūleʻa to say thank you to her and to leadership for allowing us to be here. We recognize that every seat on each of these legs is precious, and in turn we have the kuleana to do everything we can to simply leave it better than we found it. Not just on the canoe, but everyday.