Crew Profile

Hōkūleʻa Update | July 16, 2016

Written by Lurline McGregor

We left Salem, Massachusetts at the crack of dawn for the forty or so mile sail to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  There was not a lot of wind, but we still had a clear and beautiful day, perfect to be on the water as the air temperature was predicted to reach ninety plus degrees.  We usually sail with a small handful of guests, who are often Native Americans from the land we have just visited.  We invite our new friends to sail with us to the next port because they have become family during our brief stays, and it is a way to thank them for their hospitality. But this particular sail from Salem to Portsmouth included only the members of our Leg 21 crew.

Shelly Knoetgen and Kaʻiulani Murphy run sheet lines to open up sail.
Shelly Knoetgen and Kaʻiulani Murphy run sheet lines to open up sail.

While it is always fun to have such appreciative guests along on a sail to continue sharing each other’s cultures, it is also special to be by ourselves.  Our crew has been together now – night and day – for almost four weeks.  We have become open and relaxed with each other and joke easily.  On this sail, we could just be ourselves, working together and helping where needed while being able to individually enjoy one of the primary reasons we are here: our love of being on the ocean.  On the way to Portsmouth, we saw lots of lobster fishermen and even a whale.

Uncle Snake on the steering sweep under full sail.
Uncle Snake on the steering sweep under full sail.

We came in to Wentworth Marina refreshed and looking forward to meeting the community of this area.  Sagamore (principle speaker) Paul Pouliot and his wife, Denise and a tribal elder were at the dock to greet us with prayers, tobacco and ancestral songs.  They are members of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki nation, one of five members of the Wabanaki Confederacy.  It was a beautiful ceremony, and we learned that like us, the Abenaki people are water people.  Sagamore Paul recounted how his people were fishermen, explorers and navigators. In this way, we are related. He welcomed us onto his land as family.

Sagamore Paul Pouliot opens the space with a blessing of tobacco.
Sagamore Paul Pouliot opens the space with a blessing of tobacco.

We ended the evening with a swim and a potluck clam bake at a nearby park, complete with lobsters, clams, and spam musubi, compliments of the local Hawai’i community who joined us. Amazing to continue to find so much commonality and family so far away.


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