We officially crossed into our fourth segment of the voyage this morning, the third in the set of four navigational segments of Leg 31.
We were at approximately 12 degrees north latitude at sunrise this morning, and our estimated mileage is 1723 and 37 miles west. While we are saying that we are officially out of the ITCZ, we are still seeing near 100% cloud cover for large parts of the day and night, as well as increased swell and wind (similar to yesterday). The sailing has been pretty slow going. We have reduced our sails down to the three smallest sails we have on board for large parts of the day, so we can move through these waves with care. While that helps a lot with the ride, waves are still breaking onto the canoe every few minutes to provide us with enough salt spray to last a lifetime.
There are only two segments left to this voyage home. We just entered a segment where we are trying to sail west of north for 670 miles, as we give up a bunch of that westing that we worked hard for at the start of this voyage. Once we get to the latitude of 20 degrees north, which is the latitude of the middle of the Big Island, we will turn straight west to search for land. This is a favorable plan as the Big Island really is big. It’s larger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and houses some of the tallest mountains in the world. What that means for us is that we have a large target to hit, and we will see changes in clouds and other natural clues before we see actual land.
One interesting thing to note – while the waves and wind have been up at marginal conditions, our course has been particularly easy to steer. In fact, we have had the steering sweep out of the water for almost all of the last few days. This indicates that the sail choice and trimming is spot-on for the course we want. I think it also means that Hōkūleʻa really wants to come home – and all we have to do is let her lead the way.
Hōkūle‘a Homecoming – Save the Date
We’ve got more details for you regarding Hōkūleʻa’s historic homecoming in June 2017! Click below to find out more: