Hōkūleʻa Update | November 19-23, 2016

After Hōkūle‘a splashed back in the water once her dry dock was complete, she continues to move south on Leg 25 down the East Coast to Miami, Florida. Each day, crewmember Kaipo Kīʻaha faithfully documents the crew’s work, the weather (frost!) and more. These 5 days of updates begin in Little River, South Carolina.

Day 10: November 19

Saturday morning we were blessed with nice warm weather up into the low 70s. The crew was ecstatic to be able to put on t-shirts and shorts. We spent the morning about 9am thoroughly cleaning the canoe and retightening the safety line. The deck and catwalks were scrubbed down, as well as the foredeck and 1 and 7 compartments.After a thorough cleaning, we were visited by a local family from Kailua who now live in South Carolina. They brought us gifts of food and items from a local farmers market.

The afternoon was given for rest and recuperation. Some of us went for a jog, others played music, some read books or wrote in journals, and some napped. We enjoyed a dinner of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and tossed greens in the breakfast area of the hotel where most of the crew spent the night.

Sunday will be spent in a similar way as we prepare to depart on Monday, and push as far south as we can every day. We anticipate reaching Florida possibly by this weekend.

Day 11: November 20

Sunday was another rest day for our crew here at the Coquina Yacht Club in Little River, South Carolina.  Crew members went on various shopping excursions and some stayed back to do laundry and relax.  Breakfast was again at the hotel’s continental meal and lunch was on our own.  Dinner was an easy going pizza and chicken wings.
We had a crew meeting to talk over our plan for the next several days.  The second cold front we were expecting is not looking like it will be here in fact.  So that means we will be able to continue progressing on our course.
Day 12: November 21

Today we departed Coquina Yacht Club at Little River, South Carolina, after spending a little over 48 hours there holding for weather. We left just before sunrise, and the air was a frigid 31 degrees. Much of the canoe was covered with patches of frost. We have been using plenty of hand warmers which are amazing in keeping our hands nice and warm.

Once the sun came out the temperature rose to a tolerable 50 degrees, even on this fully clear sunny day. We enjoyed some warm saimin for lunch which was garnished  with nori. The tow over was quite quick and we were tied up by 2:30pm. Tonight Moani is preparing a chicken stir fry. We are staying overnight at Georgetown Landing Marina, in Georgetown, SC, with departure time set at 6am tomorrow morning for Charleston. As we continue south we hope to chase the warmer weather!

Day 13: November 22

Today we departed Georgetown at first light. We are getting into a steady rhythm of moving the wa‘a everyday. We enjoyed some hard-boiled eggs for breakfast as well as oatmeal and coffee. As we move south, the weather is steady in the 60s at the highest and 30s-40s at night. We layer up in the morning and layer down in the afternoon as it warms up, only to layer up again at dusk.

We are pushing 60-70 miles everyday, but our days are short, just over 10 hours long. We passed through a couple of swing bridges today, and only had to wait for one to open. While we wait for a bridge, we sit there and hold our position with the escort boat and dinghy helping us, as well as some crew on the hoe‘uli and some with the paddles on the bow.

We landed at St. John’s Yacht Club about 3:30pm, where we prepared a dinner of chop steak and rice with corn on the cob. Tonight most of us will sleep on board, and we have an early crew call of 5:30 am tomorrow, where we will head for Beaufort.

Day 14: November 23

As today marks the end of our second week here on Hōkūle‘a, we have reached the southern border of South Carolina. We made it to Skull Creek Marina, Hilton Head Island, in Beaufort, after about 11 hours of travel from Georgetown.

Today was noticeably warmer than the rest of the week, with weather remaining in the 50s-low 60s. At the peak it was warm enough for tee-shirts. It was then we took the time to film some Thanksgiving messages on board for our families and friends back home.

Towing the wa‘a through the ICW is an arduous task, as often we are passing through narrow, shallow channels and making sharp 90 degree turns through windy waterways. Docking every single night also proves extremely challenging as we battle currents to dock at unfamiliar marinas day after day, successfully tying up our 12-ton 62-foot unpowered voyaging canoe. But our crew is vigilant and well trained, as is our Captain, and mile by mile, day by day we are moving south slowly and steadily.

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