Blog by Joey Mallott
Hōkūleʻa, thankfully, has been a large part of my life dating back to the mid 1990’s when PVS leadership approached a respected elder of my tribe about the possibility of logs for a voyaging canoe. My people, the Tlingits from Southeast Alaska, did not hesitate to donate logs to PVS, eventually being carved and crafted into the two beautiful hulls of the waʻa Hawaiʻiloa.
Fast forward to present time. I am sailing on Hōkūleʻa for my third long distance voyage. My first was over 17 years ago from Tahiti to Molokai, which was about 24 days on the open ocean. That voyage was an honor and everlasting memory that I will cherish always. My second was just 2 years ago as apart of the current Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, which took us on a journey up the East Coast of the North Island, Aotearoa. Now, I sit on the deck of Hōkūleʻa once again, today being the twelfth day of Leg 29 from Rapa Nui to Tahiti.
We have stayed on a westward course since leaving Rapa Nui. The sailing has been pleasant, except there have been some days of light winds and little miles gained. The first few days of any voyage seem to go slowly, but after about a week, the whole crew seems to fall into a very efficient routine. Often our assigned duties during watch rotate from steering on the hoe, swapping out jib sails, closing and opening of the main and mizzen, scrubbing the decks, cooking 3 meals a day, cleaning up after ourselves and each other, all of which makes the days fly by. The crew starts to ask each other, “Hey, what day is it?” or, ” How many days have we been sailing now?”
Strangely, we have seen little sea life. Early on, we caught a few fish, but we haven’t hooked anything for over a week now. As we passed the tiny atoll of Ducie, which is in route to Pitcairn, we finally crossed paths with several types of birds that helped reassure the navigator that we are on the correct course. The next day, we were in on the hunt for Henderson, another tiny atoll, this one about 100ft in height. As we sailed slowly, scanning the horizon, a sudden surprise literally surfaced to show us the way.
Monster sperm whales, three of them, were spotted in the distance, but right then, two swam right in front of our bow and we got a very special up-close look at a pod of these beautiful, majestic creatures.
With that event in mind, it occurs to me that what Hōkūleʻa does is nothing short of spectacular. All the volunteer and public support PVS receives and what each of the 29 different crews so far have been able to accomplish is nothing close to routine. The vision of Mālama Honua is so profound and at the same time so simple that the message connects with anyone who comes and visits the canoe in port or on the website. So, the long days in the sun, the sleep deprived nights, callous hands, and saltwater showers are all worth it, and, of course, it is an honor to help spread Hōkūleʻa’s message of Mālama Honua.
Hōkūle‘a Homecoming – Save the Date
We’ve got more details for you regarding Hōkūleʻa’s historic homecoming in June 2017! Click below to find out more:
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