Hōkūleʻa Update | January 11, 2017

On Leg 26, Hōkūleʻa voyages south from Florida to Panama. In this update, crewmembers Kaniela Lyman-Mersereau and Nakua Konohia-Lind share manaʻo on reentering the Pacific through the Panama Canal.

January 11

Blog by Kaniela Lyman-Mersereau

87 feet above sea level we awake to delicious fried rice prepared by Brad Wong and his watch. As we wait for the pilot to arrive Kapena Bruce waxes eloquent stories about the early days of Hōkūleʻa. We cling to each word because we know the value of where we are coming from and where we are going. He emphasizes the lifestyle. We are not part of a project. We are here doing what voyagers do. Sailing the earth. Traveling through space and time. Being adventurous. This is our culture. This is our practice. It’s not for everybody. Making stories and telling stories by taking the risks on the sea and craft we love. No ke kai mai au. We are from the sea.

Cameras and crew dance across our decks to capture massive ships as they transit: Maersk Utah, MOL Magnificent, Maersk Line, Ever Lucent, Cielo Di Tocopilla, MSC Vaishnavir, Guangdong Hong Kong, Fantasia Del Mar. It’s hard to comprehend the capacity of what they carry, where they are going, what they are bringing.

The last lock opens 87 feet back down to sea level. I count 42 manu ʻiwa (frigate birds) watching us return. Hōkūleʻa breathes, she smells, she tastes her sea. Back to the Pacific. A honua, a hokua o ka ale!… Aue ua hiti e! The crew smile, mele and rejoice on another successful leg. Our pilot, Ricardo, joins in our ʻawa with nothing but gratitude for an experience he’ll never forget: a day with Hōkūleʻa. This is Mālama Honua. These are the humans we seek to connect and learn from. Those who care and those who don’t know will begin to care. The path between two seas adds another date to its history book: January 11, 2017, the day Hōkūleʻa passed through. Remember this date.

My good friend and watch mate Nakua adds to the end of another unforgettable huakaʻi:

As this amazing voyage of Leg 26 in transit from Miami, Florida to Balboa, Panama approaches its final hours we look back through our voyage in awe of the amazing experience we are a part of by bringing this iconic voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa back home to her home waters in the Pacific Ocean. With our hearts heavy with the thought of leaving our fellow ʻohana and merging back into reality we share ʻawa as we depart the last lock of our huakaʻi. Emotions flowing as the ʻapu of ʻawa goes around the circle, the one most important thing we honor is our ʻohana back home who gives every crew member the OK to spend the time away from home to take care of Hōkūleʻa and our Waʻa ʻOhana.

Reflecting on the voyage we had nothing but good times whether we were in an extreme squall, rough seas or overcast days and nights. With our leadership we all were able to maintain a happy, calm, and humble personality no matter what the situation. Every voyage is different. It’s always with a different captain, crew and experiences which make each voyage special and unique. As always, all crew members are from different walks of life. It is a scarce situation to find a fellow crew member in the same line of work which makes every voyage that much more special. We finish off the evening with an ʻohana dinner for our whole crew, including our crew members of the Gershon II, who will continue this voyage of Mālama Honua to bring Hōkūleʻa home safely.


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