Late this afternoon we sighted Makatea off of our starboard bow. This was a good first test for our navigation team getting dialed into sailing in this part of the world. Its was only 120 miles from our departure point, but it’s really a confidence boost and a good warm up test for this whole crew. We worked hard through the night with multiple sail changes to adjust our speed to match that of our escort vessel. Sunrise brought us the familiar dawn light and 360 degrees of horizon that many never get to see. Today was filled with little tasks to set our canoe on a favorable course without a lot of extra effort needed to balance on the steering blade.
What’s really nice is the professionalism that this crew brings to the voyage. Everyone has a ton of miles on a variety of ocean-going vessels, and that experience is then honed to the likes of our captain, Pōmai. She has a great way about her in that she is a natural teacher. She is constantly quizzing us on the different protocols that we have to have committed to memory in case of emergency, and she gives praise when merited (and soft scolding when that’s merited too). But I think the best part is that she is so comfortable in this space. Pōmai takes it all in stride and keeps the cadence of everything we do matched to the cadence of our mama canoe. Her pilina with our navigator, Kaiʻulani, is great to witness. They are both from the same town of Waimea, Hawaiʻi as is apprentice navigator Pua. The three of them have been working for months with the rest of our nav team, Haunani and Kala, to get all the details and studying done for this particular leg of the voyage.
Navigation aside, the whole crew has used the last week and a half together to get to a place where even on this first sail day we can make it look and feel like we have been working together for a long time. We all know that we are privileged to be here and want to be our best selves to this journey.
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