Hōkūleʻa Update | January 15, 2017

On Leg 27, Hōkūleʻa will voyage from Panama to the Galapagos. In this update, documentation crewmember Bryson Hoe recounts connecting with members of the local Panamanian community and preparing supplies for the upcoming voyage.

January 15

Blog by Bryson Hoe

The surrounding water has calmed and the air cooled enough to warrant blankets as five of us take turns on watch aboard Hōkūleʻa. Except for the occasional passing of 500+ feet ships making their way into or out of the Panama Canal, the night is quiet. The conditions are a welcome respite from the heat and humidity of the day.

It has been three days since the majority of the Leg 27 crew arrived in Panama. In that time we have diligently worked to prepare both the waʻa and ourselves. Uncles Archie and Billy have been in charge of our safety protocols, meticulously verifying that all equipment is in working order and in the correct place. Tamiko leads a well-oiled team, purchasing and sorting food into day boxes for both Legs 27 and 28 – all within the space of a hotel room and hallway. Earlier this morning the crew moved the waʻa off her mooring to a floating pier so that she was in a better position for the community welcoming ceremony this afternoon.

As usual, Hōkūleʻa has already attracted interest among other mariners and passers by who often stop and gaze for a few minutes. Even the guards and marina staff give a smile whenever we say “Hōkūleʻa.” They may not know of her history or her travels, but they know Hōkūleʻa is special.

The crew hosted a successful day of community outreach and engagement that began at around 10:00am with an intimate welcoming ceremony featuring local Panamanian indigenous groups and Hōkūleʻa well-wishers. It was a chance for many groups to come together and celebrate common values and efforts. The majority of the crew then hosted a large turnout for canoe tours while some of of us headed to prepare for a presentation at the nearby BioMuseum. A shifting schedule put the possibility of canoe tours up in the air, but the crew remained committed to honoring the community members, especially young educational groups, who had come to share their aloha with Hōkūleʻa.

The presentation at the BioMuseum was well-attended and included several former Hawaiʻi residents. Then it was a quick turnaround to head to dinner at the Union Club hosted by Club de Remos de Balboa (CREBA), which puts on the annual Ocean to Ocean Cayuco Race. The event pits dozens of 4-man cayuco canoes (that have no ʻama) in a 41-mile, 3-day race through the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It was a great way to end a busy day for the crew, and we are happy to connect and honor our growing Panamanian ʻohana.

Tomorrowʻs crew call is 0500 to beat the heat while loading food with more preparations to follow.

Mahalo nui to our ʻohana back at home who allow us to be here.


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