Crew Blog August | Hye Jung Kim: The Gear-Up

Aloha, I’m Hye Jung Kim. For the Alahula Kai o Maleka voyage to California, I’ve been trained and selected to be the communications officer and media documenter. While at sea, I’m honored and excited to be reporting to you all a daily account of our journey. I’d  like to share with you today my account of the lead-up to our voyage. Mahalo!

It’s Thursday, July 5, the phone rings and it’s master navigator Nainoa Thompson asking if I would consider being a crew member on a yet-to-be-announced deep sea voyage. He tells me he is putting together a crew of 14  to sail Hikianalia on a 2,800-mile journey from Honolulu, HI to San Francisco, CA. With a fast beating heart, I tell Nainoa that I am honored and excited to be considered.

After hanging up, I create a list in my mind of people that I need to check with and seek permission from. I call my family members one by one to share the news and to ask for their support in allowing me to be out in the ocean for about a month. They are incredibly excited and honored that I have been asked again to sail. So thankful to have a job with Education Incubator with my boss saying “You have to go, we will figure out the details of the work that we need to do”.

It’s a go! I am so overwhelmed with the love and support that I receive from my family and my work

From that point forward, I set my top priority to getting Hikianalia ready for the voyage. My work is flexible and I decided to quit my outrigger canoe paddling early in the season to prepare for the California voyage that has been named Alahula Kai o Maleka. There was a lot to shift in my day to day, but it was something that I needed to do in order for me to earn the time out at sea.

Aunty Lita Blankenfeld talking story while leading the Hikianalia provisions team that’s made up of volunteers and PVS crewmembers.

I learned so much in the weeks following July 5. Aunty Lita and her crew of logistics people had organized to help prepare and pack 40 days of food; the communications teams from PVS and ʻŌiwi TV met with me to teach me all that I need to know to carry on the kuleana of media specialist on this voyage.

There has been immense support for this voyage over the past month: crewmembers and volunteers helping with hauling out Hikianalia and making sure that she is ready for the voyage; science specialist team getting together to talk about the citizen science projects that we could participate in on the voyage; PVS education team creating a schedule of connections and conversations to be had while on the voyage; and so many more hands in preparation for this voyage.

Fast forward a few weeks and we are now at August 2, 2018. Our crew under the leadership of kapena Lehua have been on standby for many days. We are monitoring weather to make sure that it is safe for us to depart Honolulu and make sure that we can make way to San Francisco. We have trained as a crew in a short period of time to know and feel ready to depart. Nainoa said yesterday on our training sail that his father, Uncle Pinky Thompson, said “95% of the voyage is in preparation, and the other 5% is in nature”. We do not get to make the calls when it comes to nature. We learn to observe and be as prepared as we can be and be as safe as we can be. I know that a lot is weighing on our leadership as I speak…there are so many things to consider, but first and foremost is the crew’s safely in this Pacific ocean crossing.

Leg one crewmembers of Hikianalia’s California Sail gets together a day before setting sail.

Our crew carries a great balance of serious and fun. We know how to be vulnerable and connect deeply, but we also do come up for air with jokes that we as a crew can all laugh at together. Each individual who are a part of this ʻohana of the leg 1 of Alahula Kai o Maleka help balance each other. We collectively have learned so much together with all the safety training and the training sails and I feel so deeply connected to them already not having left the dock for our voyage yet. I know in my naʻau that these are people who will be part of my life forever and I do not say that lightly. As I fade away tonight I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn, thankful for the support that I have, and extremely honored that I get to learn from the best.

Standby 72,
Hye Jung



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