According to the navigation team, this will be our last full 24-cycle on the canoe. Since last writing, we have been steadily searching for clues that land is nearby. While the clues have been plentiful, any actual land has proven elusive. The reef and rock we thought that we would have seen yesterday did not appear. The navigation team went back to the same two simple questions- 1) Are we east, or west, of the target, and 2) are we at the right latitude? Something must not be right if we did not see the reef. Dead reckoning tells us that we are east of the target and slowly heading west. By midday today it became clear that we had travelled enough miles west to see the reef, but we did not; so then our latitude came in question. The team met and talked about the possibilities; they felt that we must be too far north for either the reef or Rapa Nui. Based on that conversation, we cautiously turned down a house (11.25 degrees) to still head west but with a bit of south built in.
We’re in the late night darkness now. We know that we have passed the reef that was our first sighting target, so the only target left for us is Rapa Nui. To sight it, even in clear weather we would have to pass within a 30-mile radius of it. Even so – we anticipate landfall soon.
On this night in the early hours, the energy is different then it has been for the last two weeks on board. There is of course anticipation of landfall. But I think the crew has also begun to savor these last moments on board the canoe before it comes to an end. Some know that this will be their last time on board the canoe for the rest of the Worldwide Voyage. And although a handful of us may get to sail on subsequent legs, we all know that the very special experience of this Leg will never be replicated again.
And so we make our way on our course, just a little south of west, looking to pull land from the sea.
We’ll keep you all posted as we go.
Nāʻālehu and the Leg 28 Crew
Hōkūle‘a Homecoming – Save the Date
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