Blog by Moku Puulei-Chandler
Life on the waʻa has been very busy even though the winds have lightened up for the last couple of days. My morning starts in the dark, where a small triangle star cluster (Kaus Borealis, Media, Kaus Australis; names told to me by Uncle Bruce Blankenfeld) is at our stern and helps us keep West, or more specifically Lā Hoʻolua, which is actually one house North of West. These are the stars that will help us get to our initial destination of Pitcairn.
Once the sun rises, again at our stern, we make ready to change watches and eat breakfast together. As the weather hasn’t helped us move as quick as we’d like, our captain, Russell Amimoto, assigns a few of us to clean up all of the lines on the waʻa, which many have been frayed or chafed over time. If needed, we cut and splice damaged lines, burn and whip the ends of each to keep the line from further damage. We’ve yet to run out of work as there is 6 miles worth of line holding Hōkūleʻa together.
In between all of this, once the winds either pick up or shift slightly, we are instructed to take down sails, put up different ones, fold the last sail used, sheet in or sheet out the current one, all simultaneously flowing as a unit to get us moving swiftly and efficiently. The winds have been pretty unpredictable, but we are set on sailing as much as possible because that’s what you do on a voyage, and we’re all comfortable going the slow and steady route.
Learning how to navigate by the help of our navigator, Kaleo Wong and master navigator, Uncle Bruce, it’s been challenging because there is so much information to retain, but out here its much easier to concentrate and visualize. Last night’s lesson was amazing as the sky was so clear and we got to learn so many things about where stars rise and set and how to find direction, even if you only have one star to select on an overcast night. I love learning from Uncle Bruce. He is like a father figure for me and I’m so thankful that I have been chosen to sail on several long distance legs under his leadership.
Being on Hōkūleʻa in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is so humbling I feel so honored to be a part of something so great. This opportunity to journey on the Worldwide Voyage has been so valuable to me and I now know that my kuleana is to not only prove to myself how I can contribute more for my community of Kauaʻi, but hopefully show others that you can do anything that you want to do, no matter what it is, it can and will happen for you.
Mahalo to the Polynesian Voyaging Society, to the crews that have sailed safely across the globe, to our ʻohana for letting us be a part of this amazing adventure, to Hōkūleʻa for caring for us, to our kūpuna for showing us the way, and most of all, mahalo Ke Akua for all that we have in life. Aloha!
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