Hōkūleʻa Update| May 25, 2017
Blog by Nāʻālehu Anthony
We have been making our way to the equator for a little more than a week. Up until now, the winds have cooperated and we have made good distances each day as we sail a little east of north. We know that we are close to the equator based on the navigation team’s dead reckoning as well as the latitude stars that they have been able to measure on the clear nights.
And yet, as we reach for this important milestone in voyage up to Hawaiʻi, the wind has just stopped cooperating. It’s starting to bend more northeast now, so we are forced to sail west of north – as far as all the way down to Manu Hoʻolua on the Hawaiian star compass. That forces us to eat up all our easting, and will end up sending us almost as much west as we are heading north.
Luckily, we seem to be getting some reprieve — as the wind is slowly starting to bend back east a bit, we can pinch into the wind to the north, and hopefully back east a bit too. We’ll see what the winds bring us tonight to help us get back to the course we were on, close to crossing the equator. The hoʻailona (signs) are here too, telling us that we are close. There are stories about the upwelling of current and therefore nutrient rich water around the equator, which means more sea life — and bigger fish — that follow that upwelling. We’ve seen dolphins the last two days, last night being one of the most impressive as it was dark already but so quiet that we could hear the dolphins breaching all around us. When we went up to the bow, we could see the bioluminescent trails that the dolphins were leaving as they swam through and played in the bow. We couldn’t actually see the dolphins, just their reverse shadow that they left in the bioluminescent light. At night we have also seen lightning on the horizon, and some pretty stunning rainbows in the early mornings that come with these conditions of squally weather and hot equatorial sun battling for the same sky. These hoʻailona come up in different tales from long ago that talk about Ka Piko o Wakea (the equator). These signs plus the numbers coming off the navigation estimates tell us we are close. Hopefully we get another latitude check tonight while Pherkad and Ed Asich are in their meridian.
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