Hōkūleʻa Update| February 11, 2017

Naalehu AnthonyBy Nāʻālehu Anthony

Aloha nui kākou,

The sun just set on our second day of Leg 28 from the Galapagos to Rapa Nui. Our crews are in great shape and everyone is safe and healthy. We are heading in a generally southern direction, with an attempt being made to get a little east of south. At sunset we are estimating that we have traveled 132 miles south. We will continue on this course until we find some stable and reliable wind, which will likely take a couple more days. At current the wind is out of the East at about 5 kts; too light to sail, so we are still under tow looking for the wind line.

Since our departure from Galapagos, we have seen an incredible amount of wildlife. Huge rays jumped out of the water yesterday and a shark hung out at the aft of the canoe. Birds are plentiful in number and variety; we’ve seen ‘iwa, koaʻe and booby birds. Still no luck with any fish, however. Russell is trying hard, changing lures over the course of the day, adding lines to multiply the chances of landing something. Our meals are still in the process of transitioning from land food to canoe food – Max brought on a bunch of bread yesterday so we modified the canoe meal plan to make use of the fresh bread with French toast this morning for breakfast, and ham sandwiches with cheese and tomatoes for lunch. For dinner, we had spaghetti in a faux meat sauce; Uncle Billy added a bunch of fresh veggies to the mix that really spiced it up. We also spent some time cleaning the deck today, washing away the dust that gets tracked on the canoe as we come from shore. The whole crew worked to clean our home to make sure she is as spotless as possible, and the shine from all the effort in drydock still shows.

In the midst of these transitions from land to sea, big and small, perhaps the most important is when our navigators take their studies and turn them into practice. These next 1800 miles are really all about the navigation – the four navigators on board will work as a team to find one of the hardest targets on the planet. There is no real landmass between where we have been to our intended target, Rapa Nui. That means that the only tools these individuals have to work with are their knowledge of the stars, the directional cues they derive from their observations of nature, and their reliance on each other as a team. They have together memorized table after table of where stars rise and set, and how they move across the sky throughout the night. This time we’re spending looking for wind is a warm-up for them, to dial-in everything they have studied and to put that training into practice. I feel really blessed to be a part of this leg, to witness this team working so hard to measure our movement across the emptiness of this region.

I’ll be writing more details about the navigation aspect during this leg, in an attempt to help those who have expressed interest in getting a deeper look inside navigation understand what our nav team is planning and doing. We’ll dive into that tomorrow with a look at the set of equations and parameters that make up this run from Galapagos to Rapa Nui. For now, mahalo nui to you all for your support as we make our way just East of South on board the mama canoe, Hōkūleʻa.

We’ll be standing by 72,
Aloha from the crew,


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