We all stare intently into the horizon looking for the island of Barbados. There is an unspoken competition for who can spot land first as if somehow his name becomes written in infinite history. But as it should be, like a teacher to his students, master navigator Kālepa Baybayan spots land first as the sun sets and we see the glowing lights of Barbados. This is the first time the crew has seen land since leaving Natal, Brazil 13 days ago. A truly special moment for all, yet we still have a few hundred miles to go, steering in the direction of Noio Hoʻolua to find St. John, US Virgin Islands.
Swells seem to have more urgency now as we get closer to reaching the shores of many islands up the Caribbean chain, and it hits our steering paddle with much force. But many years of steering in Hawaiʻi’s ocean waters make us more than capable and ready. Today we celebrated crewmate and apprentice navigator Brad Wong’s birthday. Our chef Nakua Konohia-Lind made a chocolate-nutella-peanut butter crunch cake, which most devoured after a heartfelt birthday speech Kālepa. In Brad’s boyish mischievous tone, he thanked everyone as we all sang happy birthday to him.
As night approaches, it brings all our souls to settle. Following and memorizing ancient star lines that our ancestors used for hundreds, if not thousands of years puts us in a clear, spiritual state of mind. Our approach to what we do is truly culturally rooted. Not just bringing Hōkūle’a to the shores of others around the world, but more importantly in the manner of how we do it. To be pono. With respect and much understanding of our surroundings. We constantly give thanks through prayer. Spirits are high, and everyone is in good health. We have crossed 1,700 miles of open ocean, and we are all still in awe of nature’s beauty in all the things we see. Hence, our message of Mālama Honua, to take care of Mother Earth, is definitely worth every mile and sacrifice. We are truly humbled and honored to carry this message across the world. Ke Akua pū a me a hui hou. Eō Hōkūle’a, Eō Hawaii.
After a 20-month sojourn in oceans south of the equator, Hōkūleʻa has returned to the northern hemisphere in the blue waters of the Atlantic. Please, help celebrate our crew by supporting their journey.