In the first 1,000 mile portion of this journey, we expect to sight Christmas Island about halfway to our stop at Cocos (Keeling) Islands where we will spend a couple of days. We anticipate landfall anywhere between 7-10 days based on the current conditions.
Next stop after Cocos is Mauritius, which adds approximately 2,300 miles. Captain Bruce is committed to traditional navigation throughout this leg, and we will be charting a course one star house south of west or 259 degrees. This will be our course for the duration of the journey. We are currently averaging five knots with a few bumps posting a little quicker with constant winds of 12-15 knots. In this time, we have shifted very quickly into a voyaging rhythm rather than our previous land rhythm. The crews of Hōkūleʻa and Gershon II are healthy and safe.
We started the day with breakfast and goodbyes to the hotel staff, who have shared with us the generosity of Bali and Indonesia. After arriving at the canoe to load on last minute personal gear, the crew came together for ʻawa to begin the process of going to sea. It was the perfect way to get everyone centered to begin the journey. We talked about how ‘awa has been part of these rituals for thousands of years, and we are but a continuation of that history. It was humbling to partake in this ceremony on the deck of Hōkūleʻa. We were able to depart Benoa Harbor where our escort vessel Gershon towed us out to safe deep water – there we opened the crab-claw sails to begin our journey.
What is most amazing about this crew is that they have all sailed many, many miles individually. There are people here who have logged thousands of miles on monohulls and tens of thousands of miles on canoes. They all work really well together, and each of us is humble and eager to learn and to teach. The work on the canoe goes swiftly but very quietly. There isn’t a lot of excess noise, rather a very measured set of intentional movements to get the work done.
Kealoha helped chef Gary with dinner tonight – coleslaw with chicken curry, hapa rice and a prune-mui drizzle, used like chutney. The meal is a great start to the voyage and anticipation is building as Gary begins to dazzle with his cuisine.
The sun has set more than an hour ago, and there is a sliver moon peeking through the ash-laden sky with a canopy of stars above just starting to clear. As I type this, water rushes past the hulls and the creaking of a loaded stay are the only sounds to be heard. Every so often Captain Bruce will say familiar names, Hikianalia, Lehua Kona, all stars he shares with the crew as we will use these over the next month to make sense of our surroundings and help us find our way.