Aloha nui kākou,
It’s sometime before sunrise. We’re heading southwest, as we have been for days now. The canoe has calmed down for the night. Most of the crew is asleep; on deck it’s just our watch, captain Archie, and our navigators, Lehua and Noe. Their directions come in quiet asks as we sail along, with the steering sweep in the water for light touches to keep our direction true. The navigation tonight is textbook – we have every star we could want in the completely open canopy above. I would argue that it might actually be too dark tonight, as some of our more famous guardians overhead are met with competition of other stars that usually aren’t seen this easily. There is a quarter moon rising near Maui’s fishhook that washes out the immediate area. But even a waning Mahina the moon is still bright enough to cast shadows on the deck of our ancient craft. The wind has pulled back some, giving us a more comfortable rhythm and a much welcomed respite from the cold bite of the wind. Still, we are all bundled up with at least two layers and jackets and pants.
Nights like this are unbelievable for most of us city slickers. Our senses are dulled by the light pollution back at home, and scenes like this seem more like fiction than real life. Even in Kaʻaʻawa where I live on Oʻahu, the stars don’t come out this bright. And so, in awe, we sail through this patch of open ocean guided by these friends in the open sky to show us the way. We keep the mast just to the right of the Southern Cross, the Dipper behind us near our starboard quarter, and the Hook lingering just off our port beam ever so slowly rising lazily on one side.
I have often wished for a way to show all of this – or even just keep a memory of it for myself – but our technology just couldn’t compare to what we experienced in reality. For those of you who have been following us for a while, you might remember my blogs during the Indian Ocean crossing which included descriptions of the night scenes as well. I think at one point I actually wrote that I wished you all could see what we are seeing, but that the camera we use didn’t have the ability to capture what we were seeing. I’m excited to announce that we’re testing out a new-ish camera on the canoe and it has the ability to shoot in very low light. We put it on board in Miami and have gotten a chance to shoot some pretty amazing images in the dark night. We see it as another tool to be able to bring our audience that much closer to being with us on the canoe. Last night was one of the best of the trip, and I think we captured some of that through the lens. I hope you enjoy the images. Stay tuned as we share more from the deck of Hōkūleʻa on this Leg 28 of the Voyage.
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