Crew Blog by Nāʻālehu Anthony
We are now in the most challenging part of the voyage. Our crew and our floating island are now in the thick of the doldrums of the ITCZ. Dark clouds persist all around us and new set of large waves has come through, making steering difficult to say the least. Lucky for us we have a seasoned crew, and have also had plenty of practice working together since this leg began. We’ve been gone from Hawaiʻi three and a half weeks, two weeks of those at sea, building our competencies as sailors, as a crew and as a team. Without that time together, these conditions would be hazardous – but through our time together we have reinforced our trust in our leadership and in each other to hold the course and keep us all safe. We are working hard to hold the course true for the navigation team so they have less deviation to calculate for and remember as they count every hour of sailing, tallying up to cover more than two degrees of latitude a day. The reward has been that their dead reckoning has closely matched their measurement of stars to verify our latitude, a good sign pointing to the skill and training of the navigation team.
I was going to write my halfway home blog today; but when I was trying to compose it in my head while on watch, I realized that this is more about being almost home. Don’t get me wrong – this crew has worked extremely hard for the last 1514 miles to bring us home, no doubt. But when I started to think about the long long list of ports and even longer list of crew members who have sailed and all the effort that has gone into this voyage, our 1514 miles are a small contribution to a much larger effort called the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage that we can all be proud to be a part of. The voyage has brought together people of all kinds in all kinds of places, inspiring each person to learn and grow in their own way. Our Leg 31 crew is a prime example of how our voyaging community is benefitting from the effort and growth of the crew on the Voyage. Our captain Pōmai stepped up from watch captain to bring this canoe home; our navigator Ka’iulani has stepped into the role of lead navigator after nearly two decades of training, and all of our apprentice navigators have spent heaps of time both on and off the water to prepare to be useful to support the navigator.
I think that’s what the voyage is really all about. We’ve done 31 legs like this in the last 36 months. We’ve sailed some of the toughest oceans with some of the greatest tests we could have as crew members of this sailing canoe and we’ve come away better for it. We’ve learned hard lessons. We’ve made mistakes and a lot of us have had to grow up a lot. And now, as this voyage ticks off the last few miles of the journey that took us around the planet and covered more than 40,000 nautical miles, we are coming home as different people to a different Hawai’i.
This voyage has changed us all.
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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