Hōkūleʻa Update | February 18, 2017

Navigation Update
Voyage Day: 9

Speed and location
Canoe average speed: 6 kts
12 hour estimated total: 68 nm South, -1 nm East
Leg estimated total: 1017 nm South, 302 nm East

Latitude 18.5 South

Heading: Nā Leo Kona

Wind: Noio Malanai 15-20 kts

Swell direction and height: Noio Malanai 3-4 ft

Cloud type and %cover: Cumulus, 30%

Temp: 70’s, plus windchill

Rig: #9 jib, Main and Mizzen 36 triangle

Wildlife: Caught an AKU – Great dinner! Caught malolo too.

Aloha nui kākou,

We’re 9 days and more than 900 miles into this leg of the journey (we think we eclipsed the halfway mark of this leg within the last 24 hours), and the crew is really getting into the groove of being at sea. The schedule is different than what we have back home, but there are some parallels. We had to “clean house” yesterday, scrubbing down the whole canoe to make sure that she is clean and tidy; and there are always the inescapable chores like washing clothes and washing dishes. But past that, the experience of being out here and being at home are two pretty distinct realities. As we sail along and the days give us time to ponder, I can safely say that we all take time in our minds to compare the two experiences, going down the road of thinking about everything that we miss back at home and the things we find we can do without. I took an informal poll yesterday and asked the crew what they missed or didn’t miss back at home.

Almost everyone said “family” as either the first or second thing that they miss while they are out here. Many of us have kids; some have small children, while at least one has grand kids. They talked about this leg being long enough where they are certain to miss a section of the kids growing up, that they will come back and they know the kids will have changed since they left.

A couple of the veteran crew members commented on how they used to feel so much more separated from family when they voyaged, and how much better the communications are now than before. The satellite phone revolution has made it pretty easy to get in touch with family as we sail along. The days of single sideband and phone patches are long gone. On the topic of communications, one long time crew member said first and foremost they did not miss their cell phone and they were happy to be without communications for the month, but just a few minutes ago that very same individual came by to the communications box to ask to connect with his wife. Some habits do die hard I guess.

There were a couple of the regular responses about missing ice cream or hot showers or other comforts that we can find at home on any given day, but no one really was too quick to miss the easy stuff. It seems that we are happy to trade some of those comforts of home to be here, in the middle of the ocean, more than a thousand miles out of the last port. That’s not to say that voyaging and leaving the comforts of home is for everyone – the people who come out here mostly know what they have to give up to get here and will do so happily. After 40 years PVS is pretty good about making sure that people sign on to a voyage eyes wide open, as prepared as they can be about what to expect before getting on board for a month.

The things that people didn’t miss might be a little more predictable for most. Constant contact, traffic, work and always being on-the-go were common themes across almost all the crew answers. It seems that everyone is more than happy to trade the pace of regular life to that of 5-6 kts at a time. Getting anywhere at 5 mph at home would drive most of us crazy, but out here it’s welcomed. I must admit, when a couple people commented that they didn’t miss email, I felt left out as I have to check the canoe email multiple times a day.

When I think about what responses were and weren’t, I realize that no one said they miss the news, or the latest episode of Game of Thrones, or US politics, or the game scores of whatever sport is in season now. It seems that some of dazzle or distraction that we have in front of us at home isn’t really that important once you are faced with the option of living at a different pace and in a different space.

And of course, I saved the best response for last. When asked “what do you miss about home?”, two people replied “I am home.” As it turns out, for some, Hōkūleʻa has everything we need…

We’ll be standing by 72,

Aloha to you all,
Nāʻālehu and the Leg 28 Crew


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