Crew Blog | Nāʻālehu Anthony: Crossing the Equator
Crew Blog by Nāʻālehu Anthony
I came up to my 2 am watch to find much better wind conditions then when I went to sleep. We were sailing almost north, a much better heading than the previous day. The better news was that the dead reckoning for the trip matched up with the star measurements pretty well. At meridian, Pherkad measured 17 degrees above the horizon, which meant that we were only one degree south of the equator. With the sun rising today, the navigation team estimates that we have sailed 891 miles along our course line with us being 54 miles west of that line.
With the confirmation that we are crossing the equator today, we began the preparation for our ceremony to honor this crossing. Our ‘awa bowl was brought out and ‘awa was prepared. In the months leading up to this leg of the Voyage, Bruce asked those of us that wanted to to bring pohaku or stones from places that had meaning to us to leave here at the equator, to continue a new tradition with a very old thought that would connect this place to our homes and our home to this place. At so at noon, at the point in the day with the most mana, we set forth in a very old ceremony of ‘awa. I don’t know how many canoe crews have made ‘awa in all the thousands of canoes that have existed in all the thousands of years of voyaging, but I am certain that this is one of the most ancient sacred ceremonies that exists in Polynesia. We are certainly not the first to have this ceremony on our floating island as we cross this tremendously important threshold marking the change in hemispheres and paying tribute to the tremendous progress that we have made. We gave ‘awa to Kanaloa, our ocean akua, as well as to mama Hōkūleʻa, and then to the crew.
Our pohaku were taken to the bow of the canoe to be given their new home at Ka Piko o Wakea. One by one, these gifts from home were given to the ocean to bring about a new tradition that will be carried forward as we reinvigorate our connections to this path that was well worn for hundreds of years. In silent prayer, some sat for a time just to take in this special moment in this special place that not many of us will get to visit in this way, on this kind of vessel, more than once. As much sailing as I have done in the last two decades or so, this is my first crossing of the equator by canoe. It may be my only one. Either way, it was an honor and privilege to do it this way with this group of people who have come together to be a crew and now ‘ohana.
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