Hōkūleʻa Update | February 14, 2017

Naalehu Anthony

Blog by Nāʻālehu Anthony

Aloha nui kakou,

Navigation Report, Day 5:

Canoe Speed: average 5 kts
12 hour estimated total: 55 miles South and 8 miles East
Leg estimated total: 500 miles South and 296 miles East

22 miles Nalani Kona and 29 miles Naleo Kona

Wind: 10-15 kts, Manu

Swell direction and height:
Manu Malanai 4-5 kts

Cloud type and %cover: 80%

Temp: 80 degrees F

Rig: 36 main triangle, 41 mizzen triangle, currently jib 17C

Wildlife: Dolphins, malolo and birds

The Balance

This canoe has a totally different rhythm when she sails in balance, trimmed to the point where steering isn’t needed. We come up on watch in the dead of night, and everything is virtually silent. The wind makes a little noise as the sails spill power in unison, and we feel the lift that we have been searching for in the days past. The normal surging sound of the water fluttering across the steering blade is replaced by a simple strumming of the water on the hulls as she slips seamlessly through the sea. We are sailing the razor’s edge, balancing our three sails against the waterline of the canoe. To do this we use the 15 5-gallon jugs for a total of 600 or so pounds, plus the weight of the crew. Even the simple act of walking forward on the deck to check the bow will change the waterline, and the canoe will shift course a bit. And so we get calm and settle in for a long night of watch – another balancing act, trying to stay alert without any of the physical activities of steering or moving around.

The clouds are back, masking the millions of points of light that are used to help us find our way. Mahina the moon seems to fight against them as she strains to be known in the night sky. The conditions have been similar throughout the night. The wind constant, the sea state consistent, and so that means that our line is straight. With no one steering, our course is a true line south of west.

In the almost dark night, we strike up a conversation about regular life back at home. What is it like where we are going? How did we find our way to this canoe? The relationships feel ancient, stretching beyond even the decades some of us have known each other and this canoe. While the language we use might be different, I’m willing to bet that the conversations have been similar for a millennia.
The dark quiet night allows us to imagine: The vessel is very similar. The technology to find our way is the same. As are the heavens we hope to see and the ocean that we slide through. Suddenly, the point of all of this dawns on me – no matter the struggle or the colonizer or the adversity or passage of time, this part of us refused to slip away into the darkness of myth and legend. The canoe story found its way back to us, and we to it; it is the moʻolelo that binds us all and guides us forward.

Me ka haʻahaʻa,

SB 72,


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