We said aloha to the crew of Leg 21 today. Pwo Navigator Bruce Blakenfeld and his crew departed John Williams Boat Company after lunch, after a morning focused on handing off kuleana from 21 to 22. Safety gear, communications equipment, medical supplies, mooring gear, food, and canoe manifest are just a few categories of the multitude of kuleana that has to be coordinated from crew to crew. JW Boat Co has provided us a massive 4-bay warehouse to store all of our canoe supplies and food. The warehouse also serves as our sleeping quarters until we depart in a few days. We’ve set up shop here, packing day boxes and going through the process of manifesting and re-manifesting the entire canoe. We are very thankful to the Leg 21 crew for turning over Hōkūleʻa in such great shape; they worked til the last minute to turn over a shiny and clean vessel.
Maine is a stunning place. The boat yard is surrounded by granite cliffs and pine trees on all sides. Nature seems to take the front seat, with humans filling in the space left over. Massive pines grow right up to the shoreline in some places. We’ve seen deer and squirrels who seemed unfazed by the human intruders in their habitat. Twelve foot tides reveal a coastline of seaweed twice a day. The granite shoreline is pitted in some places by the quarries of yesteryear.
But when the sun finally set, we found beauty in the sky that we rarely get to see on land at home. The night sky in Mt. Desert is amazing mostly because there are few lights at night. We could clearly see the Milky Way over head, with the Dipper setting behind the mountain. The crew slept on cots in the middle of the yard to watch the shooting stars and practice their star knowledge, ever training for navigation tests. We’re so far north; Hoku Pa’a was much much higher than we are used to seeing at home in Hawaiʻi. I contemplated this reminder of how far we are from home, and felt again the weight of the privilege and responsibility of being part of the crew that is about to take Hōkūleʻa farther north than she has ever been before.
We will continue to prepare for departure until the weather allows us to leave. Standing by, 71.
Aloha nui, Nāʻālehu
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Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.
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