Crew Blog | Duane Desoto: Carry on the Tradition of Hoʻokele
Crew blog by Duane Desoto
On March 10th, we left Rapa Nui on a 62 foot double hulled canoe and set out to sail to Pitcairn, Nuku Hiva and finally Tahiti. Such adventures mean different things to different people. As a crewmember of Leg 29 on the World Wide Voyage the general feeling for me is that of privilege and honor. The privilege to be one of the thirteen crew that stands side by side with Bruce Blankenfeld (self proclaimed librarian), Kaleo Wong (Navigator), and Russell Amimoto (Captain) on Hōkūleʻa as she sails this route for only a second time in her 42 year history. The honor of carrying on the tradition of hoʻokele that is alive, thriving, and inspiring our kanaka youth to reach for the stars and navigate their own dreams.
Some people see Hōkūleʻa and can’t believe how far she has voyaged, not to mention there are no motors or compass. Unlike most, I have had the privilege to sail in extreme ocean conditions on the Tasman Sea that truly displayed how technologically advanced Hōkūleʻa is as a sailing vessel. On large seas and high winds, Hōkūleʻa’s two hulls flow effortlessly side to side as the hoe uli maintains our intended direction. You can hear the lashings call out as the waʻa flexes and articulates through the rough sea as if predicting every next move. Hōkūleʻa is truly an engineering marvel.
Our sail plan for this voyage involves more than 29 days at sea. Thus far this is the most at sea days for me on any adventure and I have the honor of sharing this with 12 special people who adore Hōkūleʻa as much as I do. We are all especially honored to sail with our kupuna who are guiding us on this incredible journey. Thus far we’ve sailed from Rapa Nui to Nuku Hiva in 22 days with a 5 hour stop in Pitcairn on the 12th day. After 3 days in Nuku Hiva we sailed to Ua Pou for a quick cultural exchange. Since Ua Pou, we’ve been at sea another 4 days and are looking for Rangiroa as a marker to line us up for our trips final stretch to Tahiti.
This has been an epic time at sea and I want to aloha my wife Mālia, my 7 keiki, my inlaws and my parents, my ʻohana, and my Nā Kama Kai ʻohana for allowing me to voyage by supporting me while away. 4/7/17 marked my 18th year together and my 10th anniversary with my best friend and lover.
Aloha nui, Duane
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