October 20: Blog from Magnus Danbolt
The wind is changing every day. System after system of Lows and Highs are passing above us and below us, spinning the wind around from port tack to starboard tack and back to port. So far we have been lucky with more or less favourable wind directions. We are coming up to the trade wind latitudes and finally today we start to have some east in the wind. We have also reached the latitudes where the ocean has turned deep blue instead of green. This means that we are in warmer waters and that we can have our bucket showers without losing our breath and turning frozen blue.
On deck, our captain Bruce is constantly experimenting with the sails. Up goes the Drifter, down the Genoa, up with a spinnaker, down with the Jib. Then we start again. We are testing and trying everything on Hikianalia. She is the youngest member of Ohana Va’a and the ever- expanding family of canoes in the Pacific. Her job is to take care of Hokulea, the mother to all the voyaging canoes in Polynesia. So we need to test her thoroughly to make sure that she is up for her task.
Hikianalia is coming from the Vaka Moana family. Her closest sisters are the seven canoes that just finished the Te Mana o Te Moana voyage. They covered more than 140,000 nautical miles together without using any fossil fuel, only using their sails and their solar powered electrical motors.
Hikianalia has the experience of all those miles built into her, and so far she has proved herself well. She is stronger, faster, wider and more powerful than her younger sisters. Compared to the old voyaging canoes, she is luxury. She has a galley in the port stern, a rest room in the starboard and a big deckhouse between the masts. It has taken some time for the crew to get used to how Hikianalia works and likes to be handled but now our confidence in Hikianalia is solid.
Kealoha is gybing and changing sails like there is no tomorrow, Maka knows where every line on the canoe is, Mike is handling the electrical system like he built it himself, and Gary is loving his little galley and fantastic meals keep coming out from there (maybe he likes it also because it is the warmest place on the canoe too!). And Captain Bruce can sleep a little bit more than when we started.
So, now 800 nautical miles to go, still a bit of chill in the wind. Kealoha is wrapping an extra turn on his malo, and Hikianalia is marching on a starboard tack behind Faafaite. All sails up, whiskers on the Genoa, and we, the crew, are all gathering around the galley hatch close to the heat and smell of warm food that Gary and Saki are about to serve up.
For More on Magnus and the Crew, Click Here: Hikianalia Crew Listr, Aotearoa to Tahiti, 2012