Hikianalia Report: October 15, 6:30 AM HST, a large baleen whale spent several minutes cruising with Hikianalia
The highlight of the morning was a large baleen whale that spent several minutes cruising with Hikianalia. It first showed itself by a “blow” off the starboard bow, followed by a great “tail shot” as it dove only about 10 meters in front of the bow. Then it (or a companion?) seemed to tail us off the port quarter for a while, showing several nice “blows” near the stern.
We made a steady 6.5 knots through the night. At 7 am, we raised the mizzen sail, so both big sails are fully open – no reefs are in place. And we raised our largest foresail, the genoa. We changed our course to 060 degrees True and are making 9 to 10 knots. The large swells on our stern are making the helmsman’s job on the steering hoe particularly critical. He must keep the genoa on the verge of “luffing” (flopping due to not being full of wind) to keep us on course. But, he must also be aware of large swells called “paddle-snappers”. He (or she) must get the hoe up out of the water when the powerful swell reaches the canoe and then dig it quickly back in to stay on course. It is a real team effort with steersmen switching out at intervals and, when not on the helm, watching for “paddle-snappers” off the stern so as to warn, “Paddle up.”
- time: 2012-10-15 16:30 UTC/GMT (06:30 HST Oct 15)
- position: 33 degrees 36.2 minutes S 168 degrees 02.0 minutes W
- course: 075 degrees True through the night, change to 060 degrees True at sunrise
- speed: 9.0 knots
- weather: partially overcast, medium and high clouds, patches trying to clear
- wind: W 10 to 20 knots
- sea state: W swell 8 to 10 feet, NW swell 6 to 8 feet, N swell 4 to 6 feet
- vessel and crew condition: all ok (Faafaite also)
- Celestial Observations, Navigation Stars, Planets and Moon Phases: To start off the night, we headed in the direction of La Koolau. On the 6 pm to 10 pm watch, no stars were useful, so we steered primarily by the wind and swells, but also were aided by the Global Positioning System (GPS). This voyage is being navigated using a combination of traditional and modern methods. There are several concerns that cause us to supplement traditional with modern techniques: we are delivering a new vessel, crew members must return to jobs within a reasonable time and there is no primary objective to prove academic theories on this particular trip. We are doing lots of star training, but when no stars are available, we do use GPS to aid in keeping the best course. The 10 pm – 2 am watch had more stars to work with. Antares (Lehua Kona) was used early in the watch, keeping it on one of the shrouds. Alpha Centauri (Kamaile Hope) was also used on the clew of the mizzen for a short while. At our current position of 33 degrees south, Jupiter rises at a steep angle heading northward, so we used it on various points off of our port side when it rose later in the watch. Orion and the stars of Ka Hei Hei O Na Keiki was the last constellation we used over the last hour of the watch, keeping it mostly in front of us or a little to the left of the mast. On the 2 am to 6 am watch, we continued to use GPS to confirm our heading, because the clouds continued to fill the sky. We were able to use Puana at the start of the watch to keep us headed East, and later we alternated between Jupiter on the port (to the North) and Kamaile Nui and Kamaile Hope (Alpha and Beta Centauri) on the starboard (to the South). By the last quarter of the watch, only Jupiter to the North continued to occasionally be visible.
- Animal Life: Another tiny ika (squid) was found on deck this morning. But the highlight of the morning was a large baleen whale that spent several minutes cruising with Hikianalia. It first showed itself by a “blow” off the starboard bow, followed by a great “tail shot” as it dove only about 10 meters in front of the bow. Then it (or a companion?) seemed to tail us off the port quarter for a while, showing several nice “blows” near the stern.
- Sea Birds and Sea Life: Fewer are seen this far out to sea in this area. There is one beautiful bird, a great low-level soarer that we would love to identify. It is a striking piebald black and white on both the top and under sides. It looks like a type of shearwater.
- Marine Debris: None observed overnight.
- Tracking Map
- Crew List: Aotearoa to Tahiti
- On Wayfinding (star compass and traditional navigation without instruments)
- Hawaiian Lunar Month (Moon Phases)
- Hawaiian Star Lines (Hawaiian names for stars and constellations)
- Stellarium, a free desktop planetarium at stellarium.org.
- Fish, Birds, and Mammals of the Open Ocean
- Predicting Weather: Reading Clouds and Sea States
- Non-Instrument Weather Forecasting
- Hawaiian Voyaging Traditions (History of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Hōkūle‘a)
- Voyaging Proverbs from Mary Mary Kawena Pukui’s ‘Ōlelo No‘eau