Hōkūleʻa Update| May 21, 2017
Blog by Nāʻālehu Anthony
Conditions in the last 36 hours have been challenging and variable. The swell from the northeast has become the dominant swell in the area. Winds are 20-25 kts roughly east southeast. Frequent squalls in the area have forced us to bring sail area down dramatically, or hove to completely.
Just to give you a better idea of the conditions we are in – yesterday afternoon three of our crewmembers were up front changing a jib in the big swell. All three were secured in harnesses, two with inflatable vests that come with automatic water triggers. As the canoe slowed down, all three crew were completely submerged in the swell washing over the bow, and both harnesses deployed their inflatable vests. Everyone was safe and not in danger of washing overboard, but it shows the amount of water we are talking about with this swell. The current wave is big enough to hit the catwalk and splash moderate amounts of water on the deck. I am being very cautious in writing this update so as not to end up with a laptop full of water.
Yesterday was a pretty incredible day. We caught an ahi yesterday, marking the first fish of the trip. It was a small one, 23 inches, perfect for a lunch of fish head soup with long squash, followed by an epic dinner – saimin (broth made from scratch) and fresh fried Ahi. It was a welcomed meal to end a long cold day of sailing. In the late afternoon we saw three things that are pretty rare to witness. The first was one of the tallest squalls I’ve ever witnessed. The wind and rain in it were moderate, but it was perfectly formed and a couple thousand feet tall. It ran us right over. After that we saw a triple rainbow in the sky. I’ve never seen one before, in fact I didn’t know it existed, but there it was. The main rainbow looked like it cycled through its colors twice and there was a more faint rainbow above it. Finally, the lighting just before sunset was like nothing I have ever seen before. The sun was hidden behind clouds, but a lot of the sun’s light was still bouncing off the low clouds above us. Everything on board went golden brown with indirect light – it felt like stage lighting for theater. It made for pretty dramatic colors as the whole horizon was deep blue.
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