The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hikianalia is on a 2,400 mile journey from Aotearoa to Hawaiʻi. Crewmembers will be sending frequent updates so that educators and students can track her progress in conjunction with the Worldwide Voyage Tracking Map.
We started our 48 hour solo navigation watches today with Austin leading off. We’re finally “out of the gate”. After a trying few days of reading and interpreting weather, we’ve made it to Tetiaroa, within sight of Mataiva at night, and out along the course line of our second leg from 15° South to 3° North. At Tetiaroa, we discovered that the forecast wind shift we had hoped for was late in coming, so we had to adjust course accordingly to maintain a northerly course. After sailing hard on the wind for 135 miles, we sighted the glow of Mataiva at night. It was lucky we saw the glow of Tetiaroa the night before, so we recognized that same glow almost immediately. Had we come through during the day, we would have missed the island altogether. We had originally planned to sail between Tikehau and Mataiva, but the winds just wouldn’t let us go east. After establishing our latitude at 15° South, we felt we could make our way towards home.
The navigation team agreed to all be up for the first two nights, in order to get ourselves on the same page. We’ve discovered the extent of each other’s knowledge as well as establishing who gets to sleep when and for how long. As of our departure from Mataiva, we are truly out of the gate in terms of decision-making. We establish speed, choose direction and maintain it through day and night. We’ve been lucky to have great weather and clear skies. This afternoon, our wind picked up, and we increased speed from a comfortable 3 knots to a “more like it” 6 knots. We’ve been visited by dolphins twice, noddy terns and a curious iwa bird who nearly stole a lure.
Throughout the night, we’ve been using a variety of starlines: Ke Ka o Makaliʻi, Manaiakalani and Ka Lupe a Kawelo. Rigel and Betelgeuse, Fomalhaut, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia, Na Kuhikuhi, Hanaiakamalama, are some of the stars we see. We are also using three planets, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. After an early wake up call, we’ve been better at estimating time and getting the watches up for their shifts.
Personally, I am out of the gate, in the middle of one of the most challenging experiences I’ve ever had. My friends encourage me with “you can do it” and similar sentiments, but this is one daunting task. It’s one of those things that you can’t understand until you’ve been there. I am learning so much as I go along from day to day and even hour to hour. Even with three apprentices, the kuleana of guiding our crew and waʻa home is a challenge. In the past three days, I’ve been more tired than I have ever been in my life, yet I need to push through. I think of the weeks ahead of us and wonder how I’m going to make it in one piece. Luckily, I’m not alone, and I am grateful to have a supportive and caring crew. No matter the challenge, we’ll make it together.
Navigator: Austin Kino, start of 48 hour navigation watch
Time period: 11:30am – 6pm
Speed: 6 knots
Direction: Nāleo Koʻolau
Distance traveled along reference course: 39nm
Distance/ Direction from reference course: Deviating 1 house to east.
Estimated position: 15ºS, 16 nm West of Mataiva at 11:30am
Wind direction/ strength: Hikina 10-12 knots
Dominant swell direction/ height: Lā Koʻolau (short wave)
Other swells: Lā Kona (big wave)
Clouds: 36% sky coverage. Cumulus
Color of sky at sunrise/ sunset: Orange/ Yellow- sunset
Sea life observed: Iwa bird, Noddy tern
Sun Dec./ House: 21º ʻĀina Koʻolau
Moon Dec./ House: 12º Lā Koʻolau,
Notes: We started 30 nm west of Tikehau/ Mataiva channel
I think our estimated position at sunset (6pm) was 14º 20ʻ S, 148º W