I was writing at my edit station last night when I was compelled to stop and listen to everything going on around me. The tone of the crew’s conversation had shifted. Some were in quiet song strumming a guitar looking for chords that might be found on a ‘ukulele, others were recounting stories of epic surf trips around Hawaiʻi. And few were huddled at the stern remembering close friends who stood on this very deck in years past who are now gone.
But it wasn’t so much what they were saying that stopped me, it was the way they were interacting with each other. Words came easily, without stress in their voice. The hesitancy that would show in cadence and body language is now gone. This crew has come together and become a family. On the eve of a trip that is about the same length as Hawaiʻi to Tahiti,knowing that this collective will operate as an ʻohana is probably the most important quality that has come from the last 1,000 miles of sailing. Yes, there are plenty of lessons learned from each earned mile in the last couple of weeks. But looking back at it all, it is the pilina that will see us through this next leg of our voyage.
We are also looking back at the last few weeks and making small adjustments to the way we approach the next target. It looks like the winds will be up past 20 knots for the bulk of the 2,300 miles to Mauritius. That means smaller sail area. The veteran crewmembers have described the seas here as “lumpy” and never settling down or becoming rhythmic. We are anticipating that the rest of the journey will be lumpy as well. This means that the crew will have to work that much harder to hold a precise direction.
While we are sure the Indian Ocean will bring many more lessons and challenges over then next weeks, this crew will be ready to overcome those challenges to find our destination and turn this canoe over to the Leg 15 crew with the kuleana to bring Hōkūleʻa into new waters.