Hikianalia Crew View: Darienne
- Posted on 17 Nov 2012
- In Crew Blogs
Aloha mai kākou,
Although we face a variety of challenges from day to day aboard Hikianalia and are learning a great deal in the process (about her AND ourselves), there are certain small pleasures that I (and others) relish.
DRY FEET: on deck, our feet are constantly inundated with seawater. Even when below deck, most everything (our garments, our possessions, ourselves) remains wet. Brenda, Saki, and others swear by baby powder to remedy this excess of moisture. I haven’t yet resorted to it (though I’ve been eyeing my bunkmate Krista’s supply), but I definitely get my best zzzz’s with dry toes.
GETTING SPLASHED/SOAKED UNEXPECTEDLY: despite dwelling within the ‘akea (starboard/windward) hull of the wa’a, I haven’t yet gotten completely dowsed by a rogue wave while emerging from my hatch. Nevertheless, rarely have I been able to successfully avoid getting splashed once on deck — just ask Keli (who always just happens to be there to laugh at me). Thanks to the warm tropical air, these soakings aren’t the most unpleasant of experiences, but the suddenness of the water’s impact is often startling, causing its victim(s) to issue a prolonged primal shriek that, in turn, serves as instant entertainment for all those bearing witness. Especially funny have been Keala’s and Brad’s dramatic attempts to hide behind something at the very last second (when they aren’t successful).
CRITTERS: many of us have pets (and/or human beings) who we miss dearly and with whom we can’t wait to reunite, once back home. Whether indicating our proximity to land or just showing off how perfectly adapted they are to life at sea, the presence of birds at any point during our trip has been highly appreciated. In fact, just yesterday, a precocious little tern made several attempts to board our craft. During its first appearance, I was at the bow with Keala, on stand-by with the jib sheet during some light rain, when Saki yelled, “Darienne!!” I turned back towards her and braced myself, unsure of her warning, when I saw the tern hovering less than 5 feet away from me, at which point, Saki adamantly declared, “It’s SO cute!” With my free hand, I tried to offer it a cracker, which it rejected in favor of a few pecks of accumulated rainwater from the railing. Soon after, it headed to the bow to try and nest in Nikki’s hair as she was bathing. Although we’re happy with our sea birds, copepods, and nocturnal phosphorescent creatures, we’re also keeping our fingers crossed for a cetacean sighting before we reach Hilo.
“BEAR” NECESSITIES: there are people who like chocolate, and then there’s a certain crew member, who we (including he himself) affectionately refer to as “the bear” during the nighttime hours. Prior to this trip, I only knew one side of this makua: a kumu whose ‘ike about and aloha for our pae ‘āina were boundless. So, too, it seems is his desire for all the pudding, m&m’s, and beef jerky onboard. After the sun sets, whenever the bench containing our deck snacks is even slightly cracked, he will be at your side, propositioning you for a share in its contents using rhyming sweet-talk. More than once, his sleight of hand with snacks under the cover of dark has backfired to everyone’s (including his) amusement, which he refers to as “bear traps.” In any case, we love our bear, who has since inspired other “baby bears” among our crew.
THE SWEEP: single-handedly steering using the hoe ‘uli is a highly invigorating experience. Zooming up and down wave troughs and crests at 10+ knots while wrangling the bobbing, jerking handle of the sweep can feel like an event out of some kind of extreme marine rodeo (which might exist someday, Uncle ‘Onohi?). As us newbies try to improve our technique day by day, even the best of our helms-people occasionally find themselves in such compromised positions as “the turtle” or “the cockroach” while struggling to maintain control over the sweep. Once again, out of fear of pain and/or ridicule, the unfortunate steersperson who falls victim to the hoe ‘uli will usually make an involuntary animal noise that immediately draws everyone else’s attention and (once assured of the steersperson’s safety) laughter.
These and all the moments in between are what I will miss most once this voyage is over, but in the mean time, I am grateful for all the wonderful people around me who like to laugh and are humble enough to laugh at themselves, from time to time.
Me ke aloha pau’ole,