July 9: Crew Training Report – Kualoa to Hale’iwa
The behind the scenes that takes place to move Hōkūleʻa to and from different ports is largely a completely overlooked set of tasks. Even though I live three miles from the departure location I found myself 30 miles up the coast at Hale’iwa harbor at 5:45 in the morning. The morning drive up the coast would only be a hint of what was to come. At sunrise the entire coastline was blocked in with a lot of salt in the air and higher than normal tradewinds.
As we carpooled back to Kualoa to meet the rest of the crew, the conversation in the van was all about the weather. The inner shores all the way down the coast were full of whitecaps and moderate surf. This was a clear indicator that this would be a fast and rough trip.
By the time we left Kualoa at at around 10:30 am, the twenty plus crew members on board were setting up a tow to the Ho’okela, the escort boat, to get out of the channel. Our captain in charge, the master navigator, Nainoa Thompson, was busy at the aft of the canoe talking to the crew about the multiple purposes of this leg of the Statewide Sail. Safety training is the most important part of the prep of any voyage. The impending World Wide Voyage will challenge leadership to embrace educators as a large portion of the crew. Some of these crew will be first time deep sea sailors. This Statewide Sail is to provide for safety training for these crew in the conditions that are bound to be less than perfect as Hōkūleʻa sails in to tougher seas than the Pacific Ocean. Navigator Thompson proclaims this a perfect day to test the man overboard procedure sometime during the day.
As we towed out of the channel at Kualoa with the wind and the swell in our face it was clear that some of our new crew as well as our seasoned crew were going to have a rough time keeping on their feet. The fishing lines were let out and the sails were set as we made out way past Kualoa then Kaʻaʻawa through Kahana all the way to Lāʻie. The fishing line took a strike by an ʻono but the hook did not set. Fresh fish is always a welcome bonus on sails.
The weather was constant, rough seas and high trades, and all that we had to show for it was 7-8knot in speed and a bunch of sick crew members. At Kahuku, Captain Thompson throws a half full jug of water off the canoe with a bouy attached to simulate a person falling overboard. The reaction by the crew was great to watch. They came together to stop the canoe and get the MOB pole out with enough time to keep the pole close enough to the “person ” who fell over. The waves and wind made it impossible to keep constant sight of the unfortunate soul who entered the water. As the escort boat rounded back to check on the mock procedure, our captain reminded us that if the statistics hold true, at least one person will fall overboard in deep sea during the WWV. This was a somber reminder that we need to keep safety at the top of our mind at all times whenever we are on the water.
At Kahuku we turned down and put the wind at our backs as well as the swell and hugged the coast past V-land, Sunset beach, Pipeline, Sharks Cove and then to Waimea Bay. As our luck would have it thebay was at one of its calmest points of the year. We pulled into the famous bay to pay tribute to crew member Eddie Aikau and his family. The plaque now on board Hōkūleʻa says everything, “No greater love has a man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Spending time there listening to the stories of Eddie and taking time to give ho’okupu to him will be something that no one on the canoe will ever forget. It brought the theme of our sail- safety above everything- to sharp relief. Let us not forget those important lessons lest we repeat them again.
Enjoy some of the photos I took from this sail…
– Nāʻālehu Anthony
Pictures of Training Sail – Kualoa to Hale’iwa