A physician of many years, Mel serves as medical officer aboard the canoe. To Mel, Hōkūleʻa offers him a connection to his Hawaiian ancestors and culture. He hopes that through the Worldwide Voyage, Hōkūleʻa will continue increasing curiosity and awareness of Hawaiian culture and inspire healthy sustainable lifestyles. At sea, Mel misses his family, whom he wishes could experience the beauty of the sea with him. Back on land, Mel misses the peace and serenity on board the canoe when the weather is perfect and Hōkūleʻa is sailing "like a bird in flight," as Carlos Andrade wrote in "Hōkūleʻa Hula."
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