Hōkūleʻa Update | June 04, 2017
Crew Blog by Nāʻālehu Anthony
Today brought us good wind and diminishing seas. This morning we were at a total distance of 1944 nmi along our reference course line and 49.5 mi west of reference course. The latitude fix last night put us at about 15 degrees north latitude; that’s within a degree of the dead reckoning numbers that our team has been calculating. The conditions have shifted in a number of ways – most notably the swell has come down even further, and the wind has gotten colder but softer. Kanaloa blessed us again with a small Mahimahi that made for great curry ramen. It was the perfect end to another day on the ocean.
This date today marks many important happenings in the history of Hōkūleʻa. I was reminded in a quick email from Aunty Deb that today, June 4th, marks the one-year anniversary of Hōkūleʻa arriving in Manhattan – that in itself is worth writing about, but it is also the anniversary of Hōkūleʻa landing in Papeʻete some 41 years ago. This, with the fact that at this writing we are more than 2000 miles along our course, merely days away from bringing our sacred vessel home after being gone for more than 3 years on this voyage, really shows the mana of this canoe.
Today is a great reminder in the power of vision and persistence. I remember when we interviewed Herb Kane – now more than a decade ago – he talked about all the people that doubted that Hōkūleʻa would even be built, let alone make it all the way to Tahiti. Even now, as we are certain that Hōkūleʻa and her first crew changed everything for Polynesians and certainly Hawaiians, many of us are still in awe that they actually did it those 40 years ago. They take their place in the fabric of the kūʻē history that our kūpuna are so well known for as we celebrate those who were brave enough to sail into the unknown in search of a new destination. Still the tenacity of that first voyage and crew is something that we will all look back on and continued to be humbled by. All the unknowns, all the missing pieces, all the chaos that came from resurrecting the ʻOhana Waʻa after being asleep for many hundreds of years really set us up for what was next. At the time, I don’t think anyone knew it involved this tiny canoe sailing all the way around Island Earth but here we are.
And so we found ourselves in Jamaica Bay a year ago today, staging Hōkūleʻa to sail past the Statue of Liberty to get another island, the one with the giant buildings that defy gravity and reach for the highest of highs, Manhattan. Dwarfed by this background, Hōkūleʻa reminded us that as far-fetched as these two images were together, only the kind of audacity and vision that brought that first voyage could meld these realities. I don’t think we would have even realized that day we sailing into Manhattan that it was the 40th anniversary of the landing in Papeʻete but for the fact that one of the original crew members from the first trip, Billy Richards, was on board. Somewhere in that New York sail he reminded us that today was the day. Another amazing first landfall, 40 years later.
It took us another year to get to this far. Not quite home, but over the last 12 months since departing NYC we went up and down the Eastern seaboard, then to Panama, Galapagos, Rapa Nui and Tahiti. As we get ready to turn West to head home, I’m reminded that we are standing on the vessel that made it all happen. And so we literally keep sailing for the next ones, just as those before did for us. As our crew gets to close out the international portion of the Worldwide Voyage, we all want to honor and mahalo those that came before us, who dreamt impossible dreams, and backed it up with the kind of determination in life that took our little canoe around Island Earth.
We’ll see you all soon.
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