Hōkūleʻa Update | January 7-8, 2017

On Leg 26, Hōkūleʻa voyages south from Florida to Panama. In this update, Nakua Konohia-Lind narrates the days the crew spends waiting to pass through the Canal – and a field trip to ruins of Fort San Lorenzo.

January 7

Blog by Nakua Konohia-Lind

The sun rises and the day begins with the meal kuleana aboard the Wa’a being passed over to the 2-6 watch, led by watch captain Duane DeSoto and crew member Scientist Anushka Fauicci and of course ʻŌiwi TV’s own Justyn Ah Chong. With access to fresh food shopping while at dock during this period of waiting, the watch was able to whip up some fresh chorizo sausage, sautéed onions, fresh fruit salad, boiled and scrambled eggs with tortilla wraps – talk about five star dining.

We’ve been docked at Shelter Bay Marina for about five days now, so in that time we were able to get a lot of canoe work done and for once had nothing to do on the wa’a. With that being said, the crew and captain Bruce sat around on the decks of Hōkūleʻa with the shade cloth hovering just enjoying each other’s company playing some music and waiting for the call about our transit through the locks of the Panama Canal. Whenever the crew meets up, captain updates the crew on the weather thanks to Hans Rosenthal –  a retiree of the National Weather Service. ” If you look around you can see the clouds converging which is a sign that rain is already starting to roll in!” says captain Bruce “so the transit through the canal is gonna be a wet one.” With that update the Sun still finds its way through the clouds and heats up the land so the crew made their way to the air conditioned restaurant for some ice cream and lunch – a brilliant idea, I say.

The down time we have takes a toll on the crew and we miss our families even more because we’re not going anywhere. Instead just hoping and praying for good news from the canal authorities for the green light to go through the locks.  But this is what a voyage is all about. It’s like its own person, it tests your patience and it may stress you out but the voyage is about trying to overcome little obstacles like these which makes a person stronger in character. Just like everyday life as well, everyone goes through trials and tribulations but at the end of the day we’re all thankful for another breath of life and another day on this amazing Mālama Honua voyage.

January 8

Blog by Nakua Konohia-Lind

With the clouds rolling in early morning the crew rises to another day of waiting and minor waʻa cleaning. We all enjoy another simple and ʻonolicious breakfast made by the 2-6 watch – bacon and scrambled egg wraps. And must I say it again? It was fantastic. With a squall lurking offshore the crew awaits for some rain but as always Mother Nature has a mind of its own, so it still remains off shore taunting us.

Since the rainsquall doesn’t arrive, a question is asked by captain Bruce, “Did everyone wash and wipe down their entire bunk area?” Without hesitation the crewmembers that hadnʻt had a chance to clean their area starts jamming it out so we could go on a little excursion later in the afternoon. Fortunately I was able to finish all that cleaning during the first day of arrival so I was able to do some extra curricular activities like learn how to sew a hole in my shorts and whip the ends of a few frayed lines around the waʻa.

Our bus arrives and we hit the one-lane roads of countryside Colon on our excursion to Fort San Lorenzo in the Jungle. In hopes to see a few animals, we scan our surroundings looking for Tucan birds in the trees, pumas in the brush and possibly some monkeys on the lawn. We arrive and walk throughout the ruin in astonishment of the old walls, stairways and trenches leading to the ocean. Of course, with Paula Akana and her photographer Braddah Stuart there with us recording, everyone was on their best behavior. With the sun reaching its peak we wait for a few more crew members to finish the fort tour while our fellow crew member Darienne Dey takes us to look at an amazing work of nature – something so small but amazing. We approach the area and notice a tiny trail spanning across the entire lawn – a kind of trail that’s created from consistently walking on the grass. I think to myself  that it’s too small for a human trail. As we take a closer look we realize a colony of ants walking in both directions like a two lane road. Ants were carrying things in one direction and returning empty handed walking in the opposite direction.

After experiencing that act of nature and having the sun beam us up Scottie, we find a lovely piece of shade in the middle of the lawn. I take a seat on the grass with the boys, again waiting for the rest of the crew. The shade was so ʻono that we all slowly changed the shape of our bodies from vertical to horizontal. Sometime in the midst of all the madness you have take a step back and just take a chill pill and Mālama our own bodies, which itself is also a honua.

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