Hōkūleʻa Update | November 28 – December 2, 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 and more. These 5 days of updates begin in Daytona, Florida.

Day 19: November 28

Today we departed Daytona Marina at 6:30am. We have overcome some challenging weather on this leg, mostly very cold temperatures, but as we are now much further south, the days are quite warmer.

Today, however we had strong southerly winds all day, which contributed to choppy water, challenging steering, and of course wind chill. In the more open waterways or sounds, the canoe rocked and the wind blew almost like we were sailing out at sea. It was comforting, and provided a good change of pace.

On the way, we were greeted by some locals on a bridge who blew a pū and waved and shouted “Aloha!” to us. As the sun set we turned the corner to Telemar Marina, we were sheltered by the wind. The bay is calm and protected, and several dolphins swam by as we slowly crept towards the dock. We tied up the canoe, where we were greeted by another family with ties to Hawai‘i. We finished up dinner and dishes, and packed our bags. Tonight and tomorrow the night the crew is staying at a nearby hotel.

Day 20: November 29

Our Tuesday was spent in port, where we docked the day before at Telemar Bay Marina. The crew was able to relax at the hotel and surrounding area of Melbourne.

We met at the canoe in the morning where we scrubbed down the deck and tidied up. After we finished around lunch time, a local family brought lunch for the crew. A small group of us went to do outreach at Surfside School, which the Leg 19 crew had visited the last school year. Jackie Meggs, Kawika Crivello and Snake Ah Hee presented to a group of 60 fourth graders in the school’s media center. The students were very inquisitive and engaged, and asked lots of questions.

From there, Scott, an owner of a local burrito joint Da Kine Diego’s, who drove us to the school (his son is a fifth grader), took us back to the canoe. We had a couple kids from the school come visit the canoe with their parents after seeing our presentation.

Kanani, a Hawaiian mom of 3, who came to Hōkūle‘a last time she was at Telemar Bay, returned again with her ‘ohana and we were able to sit and talk story with her and reconnect. She was especially happy to be able to ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i (speak Hawaiian) with a few of us as well.

After staying with the families till the sun went down, we picked up the rest of the crewmembers and headed to Scott’s restaurant Da Kine Diego’s for dinner. Most of the crew enjoyed their signature insane burritos. While there Keala Kai drew a portrait of Hōkūle‘a on one of the tables and we all signed it. Scott was so honored that he removed the table and will be saving it to be hung up in the restaurant.

Day 21: November 30

We departed Telemar Bay Marina early Wednesday morning after spending about 36 hours there in port. The wind picked up early on and we had some bumpy waters most of the day. I can safely say now however that we have finally made it to warm weather. Even with the wind gusts, a light jacket is more than enough. The temperature reached the 80s at the peak in the afternoon, and most of the crew traded thick jackets and boots for shorts and slippers.

It was our shortest run yet at 56 miles or so. We enjoyed hot dogs for lunch with chips and fresh mango. Shortly after the second watch change, we reached the marina. After docking at Fort Pierce City Marina at around 3pm, we had a few visitors come by and check out the canoe.

Tamiko cooked up some tonjiru – a Japanese pork soup with miso broth. The marina was teeming with marine life as it is a no fishing zone. We saw huge mullets and trevallies as well as dolphins and pelicans.

After the sun went down we were greeted by a local Hawaiian family who brought us chili, kal bi, and pizza. They had visited the canoe earlier in the year when Hōkūle‘a was on her way up. We saw them earlier in the day waving a ti leaf stalk as we passed by. After a few hours of talk story and showing them the canoe, we said goodbye and went to sleep on the canoe.

Day 22: December 1

We woke up at Fort Pierce City Marina and greeted a new day and a new month. Leaving was a smooth process as the wind and current were nice and slacked.

Most of the day was warm and calm, until about mid-afternoon when the wind picked up. We’ve noticed quite an increase in boat traffic as we have made it further south, and many boats have passed by.

One of the folks, Greg, that met us in Telemar Bay Marina gave us a chessboard with seashell pieces. Keala Kai and Tamiko busted it out today and played a game. Shortly after we had a delectable lunch of fried rice, a classic local way to combine leftovers with fresh ingredients and make a great meal.

When we arrived at West Palm Beach, we were greeted by a welcoming party of about 20 people who brought lei for the crew. They were excited to see Hōkūle‘a docked in their city, and we gave them the grand tour on board.

The rain is coming down hard tonight so the crew is at the nearby Hyatt for the night.

Day 23: December 2

We spent the day on Friday in West Palm Beach, Florida. Our first task of the morning was to spin the canoe on the dock and move it back a bit. After that, we scrubbed the deck and tidied up the canoe for tours.

We opened for canoe tours from noon to four, and the weather was perfect for it. Clear skies, nice and hot at about 80 degrees at its peak. I estimate we saw roughly 150 people over the four hours, mostly locals from the area, but some Hawai‘i transplants as well.

After the tours we were hosted at Bradley’s Saloon, a restaurant within walking distance of the canoe. They printed us custom menus that said “Welcome Hōkūle‘a Family” on top and the live county band that was playing there dedicated a song to the crew and the voyage. At the end of the night we gifted our hosts with some makana and took a group photo.

We will depart for Miami Saturday morning at first light. It’s a 77 mile run but there will be 32 bridges along the way, and that doesn’t count the high rise bridges that don’t open. This will be by far the most bridges in one day, and the total almost reaches the amount we’ve gone under so far the whole way down. We will stay at Shake-A-Leg Marina and Sunday we will stand up the rig.

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Hōkūle‘a’s visit to the eastern United States is a historic milestone in her 40 years of voyaging.

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