Kū Holo Mau: 2007 Voyage for Mau
Kealakekua to Majuro (January 23-February 22)
January 23 departing Kealakekua Bay for Majuro
Under clear skies and with a rising swell, the voyaging canoes Alingano Maisu and Hokule’a began pulling anchor in Kealakekua Bay at about 4:45 this afternoon. About 40 friends, family and community members stood on shore waving good-bye, while kahu Kaniela Akaka volleyed the
What a beautiful departure it was. With the repaired sweep on board and nai'a, or dolphins, swimming next to the canoes, they rounded the corner of Kealakekua bay at about 5:30 tonight, meeting up with the escort vessel Kama Hele. They are headed to Ka Lae, or South Point, where they should pick up some good wind.
Maisu (single-masted) and Hokule'a (double-masted) at Sea. Photo by Mike Taylor
From there they will then head west-southwest, sight Johnston Atoll, then sail on to Majuro. This first leg of the journey is about 2,200 nautical miles and is estimated to take about 22 days.
President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society Nainoa Thompson, who is not on this first leg of the voyage, said “It is a powerful day, the two canoes have begun the voyage. The cracked sweep at first would seem to be a problem but on the other hand the cracked sweep was a gift, bringing us home and spending time in Kealakekua, with its beauty and sacredness and allowing leadership the time to grow even stronger - a vital and key element to the success of this voyage. I understand the complexities and challenges that we will face on this voyage but I feel confident and strong about the departure this evening because, primarily, of the extraordinary leadership on these canoes – captain and navigator of Hokule`a Bruce blankendfeld, Captain of Alingano Maisu Shorty Bertelmann and navigator of Alingano Maisu Chadd Paishon - great leaders in their own right but together they strengthen each other. I’m just very proud to have been with them and to have witnessed the unified strength."
The voyage will take the canoes to Majuro, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Satawal, where the Alingano Maisu will be gifted to our teacher master navigator Mau Piailug; then onto Woleai, Ulithi, Yap and Palau.
From Palau, the Alingano Maisu will go back to Yap, its permanent home. Hokule’a will then sail to Okinawa, followed by 7 other stops in Japan to honor the cultural and historical ties between Japan and Hawai’i and the historic journey of King David Kalakaua to Yokohama in 1881, which lead to the start of Japanese immigration to Hawai’i.
Thank you for your love and support for this voyage and these amazing crews.
Last I heard was that at about 10:30am the two canoes were full sail and headed south, nearing South Point, going at 5 to 6 knots. Pomai Bertelmann, who was on the Alaka'i near the canoes until about 12:00, said it was beautiful and the crews were all-smiles!!! Thanks for your prayers and support of this voyage.
Crews: Hawai’i to Majuro in the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Hokule'a's crew: Captain and Navigator Bruce Blankenfeld; Dr. Ben Tamura, medical officer; watch captains: Ka'iulani Murphy, Attwood Makanani, and Tim Gilliom; crew: Russell Amimoto, Bob Bee, Terry Hee, Nohea Kai'aokamalie, Kaleo Wong, and Palani Wright.
Maisu's crew: Captain Shorty Bertelman, Navigator Chad Paishon. Micronesian Crew: Mau Sesario Sewralur (Mau Piailug's son, 36) of Yap; Jason Urusalim, 26, of Satawal; Innocenti Eraekaiut, 32, of Satawal; Athanasio Emaengilpiy, 26, of Satawal; and Norman Tawalimai, 28, of the neighboring island of Ifalik. Hawaiian Crew: Keala Kahuanui, Pualani Lincoln, Kaipara Nick Marr, Kamoa'e Walk, Keaka Mo'ikeha Yasutake. [From Honolulu Advertiser articles by Jan TenBruggencate.]
Kamahele Crew, Hawai'i - Majuro: Mike Taylor, Lee Taylor (Mike's son), Erik Norris, Mark Rhodes, James Hadde, Sam Monaghan.
Mike Taylor (left), captain of the escort boat Kamahele for the voyages to Micronesia and Japan, preparing to leave Kawaihae.
January 24 at Sea
Aloha ‘aina ka waihona o ka na’auao o ka ‘ohana, kanaka maoli.
Feels good to be on our way Hawai’i behind us wind in our sails. Sun is wela with swells and waves keeping us cool. Makaaniani Maui Jims broke last hundred years been with me ’99 E Mau voyage Hawai’i – Saipan, Hawai’i – Rapa Nui today 1st day broke. Got Arnette thanks to my kids. Hope work like MJ. Cold bug on canoe since Kawaiahae crew just getting over it. Spinnaker looks and works great, Hoku want to go and feel her taking off. Running in the wind with waves sing their song. Mahalo ke akua ha ele pu o Kane Kanaloa e Kane loa e. Holokahiki MAKA
That’s a message from Maka…
Mahalo nui to the ‘ohana of Hawai’i island who have taken care of all of us from Kawaihae till we left from Kealakekua Bay yesterday evening. Just before sunset Hokule’a and Miaisu lifted our anchors after spending an awesome 3 nights in this beautiful bay. Alaka’i and Kamahele escorted the two wa’a kaulua as we headed south down the coast to Kalae. With sunrise we headed ‘Aina Kona, which we will sail until we get to 17 degrees N, then sail Komohana until we see Johnston Island. Hokule’a is sailing with just our forward sail and jib, averaging 6 knots. Bruce is keeping us on course using the sun and moon for direction. We see Maisu just behind us sailing beautifully with the main sail and jib. Kamahele is not far behind and Alaka’i headed back home to Kawaihae this morning. No fish yet today, our first catch was on Saturday, two ahi on our way to Kealakekua.
Aloha nui! Ka’iulani
Russell Amimoto with two small ‘ahi (yellow fin tuna) caught off of the south shore of Hawai’i island. Photo by Hokule'a Crew
January 25 the pathway to Kahiki: passing Manuka, Hawai'i
The rays of the sun stretch over the cliffs of Manuka and lights up the pathway to Kahiki. Mother and child wait in patience for the exact moment to 'oki from the last form of physical connection to the 'aina. In the brilliance of purple, blue, pink and vibrant orange, the face of ka la is seen and it is time. The call comes from the mother, "ready to go?", the response, "i'm right behind you". In minutes, Hokule'a is underway, powered by the wind she takes her time moving forward, keeping a watchful eye on Maisu. In her movement there is confidence, in the pitch and roll she is graceful, she is an example of everything that Maisu will become. Kamahele is here to watch over them.
Blessed with love and support from famiy, friends and community, three crews will sail mile by mile to their destination. 'Alaka'i stands by as a witness, in awe, to the beauty that has just unfolded before our eyes.
In her confidence Hokule'a leads the way, pitching and rolling in over the gentle swells - moving forward in a rythm in sync with the sea. You sense Maisu's excitement as she familiarizes her "feet" to the wet of the deep blue. They are home, they are on their way...they are three vessels, this is one voyage, we are supporting and perpetuating the legacy of voyaging traditions and values, we are applying what we've been taught and we are learning what we don't - As the days roll by we will learn, share, and record all that we have experienced.
Mahalo to all of you for your continued support, for your kind words, for the great respect and trust that you all have in what we do. We are the first to admit that we don't know everything, we are always learning. Every voyage is different, they need to be in order for each of us to individually progress and acquire the skills necessary for our personal growth.
Mahalo e Ke Akua....aloha no...
looks like the satellite phone connection for email is working today; sorry we couldn't get it to work yesterday; neither could maisu. crew is all well. caught a mahimahi yesterday before sunset. i know we missed the radio call yesterday, but we will be on the phone tomorrow morningm
January 26 heading west, two mahimahi
Just before sunrise we changed our heading to Komohana (West). With the wind behind us, the crew is working hard to steer our course. Last night we were blessed with beautiful clear skies, and the air seems to be a little warmer. We got a good look at Hokupa’a (North Star, used for navigating) as we are making our way south. Maisu and Kamahele are sailing nicely and all crews are doing well.
Mahalo for the i’a – we caught two mahimahi this morning and put away our fishing lines for the day. Tim cleaned one, Palani cleaned another and cut up sashimi, and Nohea helped to fry some up with panko and garlic. We will also dry some for later.
Saw a koa’e kea (white-tailed tropic bird) today, a couple albatross and boobies yesterday. A booby landed on the back spreader just around sunset and spent the night there.
January 27 twenty-five pound ono
Greetings from Kama Hele, the escort motor cruiser for Hokule’a and Maisu! Today, Saturday, 27th of January has been a wonderful day. Despite light winds we continue our move west, south-west toward Johnston Island. We have been following the setting sun and also the bright planet Venus that is following a couple hours after the sun.
This has been our course since finally leaving the southern part of the Big Island on the morning of Wednesday the 24th of January. After four full days of sailing I believe that we are about halfway between the island of Hawai’i and Johnston Island. We appear to be making good time and have had mild sunny days with little rain and no squalls to speak of.
When we met the canoes at the mouth of Kealakekua Bay we were fortunate to hear our fishing line screaming. Our captain Mike Taylor manned the reel and brought in a beautiful twenty-five pound ono that has fed our crew three dinners. Since then not a bite nor nibble but we have seen a number of birds both terns and boobies which often times signal the occurrence of fish nearby.
We have been keeping up with both canoes and it is such a great feeling to see them gliding along, almost surfing the waves. Marvelous sight. The big excitement today was a large shark, maybe 12-14 feet long, cruising along side of Kama Hele. It was our first large animal sighting since coming over to the Big Island from our home base in O’ahu almost two weeks ago. During our thirty-four hour crossing we spotted many whales and dolphins in the channels between Moloka’i, Lana’i, Kaho’olawe, and Maui.
The sun has set and voyaging canoes are close in sight for the evening. So far, everything has gone extremely well and we all anticipate a wonderful cruise.
Kama Hele crew member,
January 28 another mahimahi; wind slackens
We had up to four hitchhikers last night, all boobies, on the back spreader, down to just one this afternoon hanging out on the back manu. Yesterday Russell pulled in a mahimahi, and Timi whipped up some poisson cru – mmmm good. Terry added some ono egg fu yong for dinner. Meals are a highlight of daily life on board. It’s a time we are all up together, talking story and sharing laughs.
Before sunset yesterday we lost the wind, and so we spent a quiet, calm night under the stars. We got a quick look at the star Miaplacidus in the southern sky to give us a good latitude clue, it was about 3 degrees above the horizon. Just after midnight we finally closed our sails and jibs, tied up the steering sweep and waited for the wind to return.
This morning was a hot one, we even put the shade cloth up to hide from the sun beating down on us. Yo-on-the-go smoothies made an excellent breakfast. As we drift along our westerly course line, Uncle Maka brought out his guitar to play a song, and Russell and Timi gave Bruce a much-needed massage.
January 29 a pod of pilot whales
Reports from the canoes and escort boat are that all are doing well. They had light winds yesterday but Mike Taylor, captain of the Kama Hele, says the winds started kicking in at about 2 o'clock this morning. This afternoon they were 10-15 kt.s from the WSW.
Pomai Bertelmann said this afternoon: "just got off radio patch with the canoes, they are all doing very well. Chadd (Paishon on Alingano Maisu) says everyone's adjusting to life on the ocean, it does take a bit of getting use to."
Timmy Gilliom on Hokule'a says they're eating well, and there's lots of sunshine.
Ka'iulani Murphy on Hokule'a says "Crew – everyone is well. No fish yesterday, but Russell cooked the new dish, Orzo with tomatoes and tofu. That was good, and topped off with macadamia shortbread cookies. Uncle Maka is teaching some of the crew to play guitar." You can catch more of her report, including navigational information from Bruce, on our blog.
From Mike Taylor on the Kama Hele: "The fleet continues to sail together in an outstanding cooperative manner. Kama Hele spent most of the day near Maisu and she was running beautifully. A pod of pilot whales chose to swim with us for a couple of hours last night. Loud blowhole exhalations 6 or 8 feet from the helmsman, big backs rolling through the surface right next to the hull - a great experience."
Hope you are all well! aloha, Kathy
January 29 wind shifts
Weather & sailing – Before the wa’a (canoes) left Hawai’i island, the weather forecasts were showing a steady flow of trade winds. The navigators understand now there is a Kona low affecting this part of the Pacific. The last two nights there has been a south-westerly wind flow and a 20-foot swell from Manu Ho'olua (NW). Last night the south-westerlies forced us to sail north of west, so we traveled 13 nautical miles north and 37 nautical miles west, factoring in 6 miles of west-flowing current over 12 hours. When we can, we will have to drop down and sail south of west, as we have about 360 miles to go to Johnston.
Star path – After sunset we see Venus in the western sky following the sun. We use Hokupa’a (North Star), Na Hiku (Big Dipper), and ‘Iwakeli’i (Cassiopeia) in the north, and the false cross and the true southern cross, Hanaiakamalama in the south. Over the course of the night Ke Ka o Makali’i makes its way from the eastern sky to the west, and we watch it setting in the early morning. Leo is right behind Ke Ka o Makali’i and is followed by Hokule’a (Arcturus) and Hikianali’a (Spica) rising in Ka ‘Iwikuamo’o.
Hoping to see Miaplacidus for a latitude reading tonight, it was too cloudy last night.
January 30 tacking in southwest winds
aloha from the middle of the ocean!
We headed south before sunset last night, part of the night sailing Haka Malanai (S by E), part of the night Hema (South).
Saw koa’e kea (white-tailed tropic bird) and ‘a (booby) this morning.
We have experienced a good lesson in deep sea voyaging with the weather we have been in. Before you leave, you plan around meteorological models, but out here, it’s a matter of what you truly have to deal with. It is a good reminder and process in being prepared for everything.
Early this morning the big NW swell picked up a more northerly component. These swells are generated by a storm up north, associated with gale force winds.
The ecliptic – the path of the sun, moon and planets – is important for the navigation because it provides a guide to the movement of the moon. Last night the moon was in Gemini, or Namahoe. We can expect it to rise between Gemini and Cancer today.
Bruce also wanted to comment on this voyage including two wa’a escorted by one support vessel. It is a new thing, haven’t done it before. Hokule’a has been leading the way to Johnston, Maisu and Kamahele following. At Johnston, Maisu will lead to Majuro and Hokule’a will follow.
Message from Dr. Ben – Dr. Tamura thanks his patients, staff and employers for their understanding and patience during these unforgiving southwest winds.
Crew life – Yesterday we spent some of the day doing the mele we learned in Kawaihae, including a mele written for Mau’s wa’a. Uncle Maka had his guitar out and after singing some songs, started to teach Kaleo and Palani how to play.
The crew sends a huge mahalo to Lita and Mary for taking good care of us with the wonderful meals. And mahalo for all that you guys are doing at home!
For photos and description of the Booby, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booby
For a photo and description of the White-tailed Tropic Bird, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-tailed_Tropicbird
January 30 continuing to tack
The canoes have been heading into west southwesterly and southwesterly winds over the last day or so because of the low pressure system near Hawai’i. Because they are further away from the system, the wind in their area has not been as strong as here in the islands. At one time the winds reached 20 to 25 knots but today’s report from the escort boat Kama Hele was that the wind is from the southwest at 10 to 15 knots. Because the wind is coming from the direction they are traveling toward, the canoes have been tacking.
Regarding the large swell, it has shifted from northwesterly and as high as an estimated 20 feet to northerly and about 8 to 10 feet this morning, according to the escort boat captain Mike Taylor. He reported today “An unremarkable but good safe night of sailing (last night). The canoes are a bit farther apart last night than previous evenings and the large north swell made seeing nav lights (small lights mounted on vessels for visibility to others at night) low to the water difficult. Shorty (Bertelmann, Captain of the Maisu) turned on his mast head light and we were fine thereafter. These two captains are doing a superb job of cooperative sailing.” Bruce Blankenfeld is captain of the Hokule`a.
Both canoes and the escort boat and their crews are doing well. The latest fix on their location, as of 11:43 this morning, is latitude 17 degrees 8 minutes north and longitude 163 degrees 12 minutes west. They are about 440 miles west southwest of Manuka on the island of Hawai’i.
February 1 two more mahimahi, seven in all
Aloha all you back home!
Last night we tacked to a more southerly course, after sailing west for a while. The wind and seas have settled down from yesterday. We picked up two mahimahi today, one yesterday, bringing our mahimahi count up to seven.
We shared the catch with Maisu and Kamahele. The crew is getting picky and anxious for an aku, ahi or ono. Still we are thankful for the fresh fish.
We had a winner breakfast this morning– scrambled eggs with mushrooms and onions, rice, bacon, and taro-blueberry pancakes. Everyone got up for that. On the down time, when people are off watch, they are either enjoying a book, writing in journals or resting while they can.
Saw another whale today and what looked like a red-colored squid near the surface. Last night a malolo [flying fish] flew on deck. We passed by a container ship two nights ago, something different for the 10pm-2am watch.
February 2 heavy weather, rough seas and strong wind
Aloha kakou! Let’s hope this email gets out today…
Last night we had some heavy weather, rough seas and strong wind, with almost complete cloud cover. Once in a while a star or two peeked out through an opening in the clouds. We were lucky to have a full moon, which glowed through the clouds, and we sailed with just two small jibs throughout the night.
The weather has backed off this morning and the crew is trying to warm up again after the cold night. Early this afternoon we saw two manu o ku [white terns] and an 'iwa [frigate bird].
There was also an interesting piece of marine debris floating by, it looked like a slice of pizza.
February 2 northeast wind returns
The winds came back last night and are blowing out of the NE at 20 to 25 knots this morning [Feb. 2], according to captain Mike Taylor of the Kama Hele. Mike said "Now we're cooking with gas! Hans [Rosendahl, the meteorologist who volunteers daily reports to the escort boat] pro
They have been sailing against southwesterly and west-southwesterly winds and tacking since Sunday [Jan. 28].
[With NE winds, the canoes can again sail straight toward their destination to the west rather than tacking northwest and southeast into the wind.]
Yesterday afternoon (02/02 4:40pm), the canoes were 211 miles east of Johnston Atoll and 1462 miles ENE of Majuro. The canoes average about 144 miles per day in good winds; in lighter winds, 60-80 miles per day. Winds may have lightened during the day of Feb. 2 as the canoes were sailing at 3.5 knots or 80-90 miles per day; the returning tradewinds are forecasted to be 20 knots today, Feb. 3, and lightening tomorrow and Sunday to 15 knots.]
Mike reports that the Hokule’a, Alingano Maisu and their crews are doing well. Hokule'a crew member Tim Gilliom brought in several mahimahi yesterday, and it was shared among all the vessels. It served as a perfect birthday celebration meal for crewmember Keala Kahuanui on board the Alingano Maisu.
February 3 land-based birds ... looking for signs of an island
We are heading west this morning, slowing down and looking for signs of an island out here. Saw two manu o ku today, at two different times. Another booby joined us last night, perched on the railing, and it was followed by a second booby who didn’t stay as long.
Manu-o-ku (white tern). Photo by Monte Costa
Last night was another chilly one, with winds out of the north, and we sailed with just two jibs again. The clouds covered about 50% of the sky, but cleared a bit into the early morning.
We dropped a bottle with a message in it from students at the Myron B. Thompson Academy, who are doing a project on ocean currents. Should be interesting to find out where it ends up and how long it takes to get there.
Everyone is healthy on board, and in the groove of being on the open ocean. Life seems simple out here, and simple pleasures include watching the sun rise and set, identifying birds in flight, seeing whales or dolphins, catching fish, and of course eating together.
Mahalo for all you folks are doing at home, the crew sends our best.
And here’s a message from Uncle Maka, unedited (the ‘olelo isn’t all grammatically correct…) –
Aloha aina, e kawaihona o ka na’auao Kauka Kekuni Blaisdell, Papa Lo’i o Kanewai, PKO ‘ohana Lono i ka makahiki hoi Ha’awina kihoalu makakau started, progressing haku mele, ka makani o lono with us kaapuni, i lalo hoe huli, pa hula holo ka hema kani ka leo o kai nalu, lele ka wai kai o pale wai pili hope ka pea. Wela o awakea. Holoi ke ki’i o akea kane o ama wahine. Ka manao io hokele aleale piha ka haumana ke aloha pau ole kuu pua o kanaloa. Waa kau lua o Hokule’a ‘ohana
A hui hou,
NOTES: The lastest fix from Maisu on Saturday, Feb. 3, indicates the canoes are about 133 miles ENE of Johnston Atoll, about a day and a half away. They are sailing W by N at about 4.2 knots, or about 100 miles per day.
They have sighted manu o Ku (white terns), the land-based seabirds they are looking for to guide them to the island. They are on watch for more birds at sunset on Saturday, and will look for birds at sunrise on Feb. 4, Sunday.
Winds are forecasted to be easterly at 15 knots today (Sunday), lightening tomorrow through Wednesday in the area of Johnston Atoll.
February 4 a lot more birds last night and are seeing more birds today all coming from the same direction
Last night we were sailing mostly Komohana (W), and this morning changed to more of a Manu Kona (SW) heading. We are still northeast of Johnston, and on the look out today for more signs of the island.
We heard a lot more birds last night and are seeing more birds today all coming from the same direction, in front of us. We’ve seen manu o ku, an iwa, and white and brown boobies.
This morning we also spotted a glass ball floating by, the crew alerted our escort boat, but we don’t know if they were able to pick up the debris.
Last night Kaleo pulled in a good-sized squid on the fishing line. He’s been known to scoop up some interesting creatures in buckets. The first was a small fish when we were closer to Kalae [South Point on Hawai'i island], the second was a blue & clear shrimp, and yesterday he scooped up a Portuguese man-of-war while taking a shower.
Russell pulled in a mahimahi this morning, cut and cleaned it. When he opened it’s stomach, about 10 little ‘iao [silversides] were in there, looking like they were just eaten. This is our eighth mahimahi so far. Still only two ahi, those we caught off of the south shore of Hawai’i island.
Terry prepared a five-star Sunday brunch, the menu included mahimahi sashimi, garlic mahimahi and scrambled eggs with green onion. Mmmm good.
Signs of Landfall: Johnston Atoll
Honolulu, HI - The voyaging canoes Hokule’a and Alingano Maisu were approximately 27 miles from Johnston Atoll this morning, making this portion of the first leg of the voyage a navigational success.
Hokule'a Navigator Bruce Blankenfeld sighted Johnston island at 1:45 p.m. today. The canoes are now travelling west along the north shore of the atoll and at sunset Alingano Maisu, with captain Shorty Bertelmann and navigator Chadd Paishon, will take the lead and head for Majuro. Majuro, in the Marshall Islands, lies 1262 nautical miles (2337 km) from Johnston, bearing 245 degrees, ‘Aina Kona, or WSW.
The canoes left Kealakekua Bay on Hawai'i island 13 days ago, on January 23. Johnston is about 800 miles from Manuka on the island of Hawai’i. Although a relatively short voyage (by comparison, Tahiti is 2300 miles from Hawai'i), the navigation is a very difficult because the target is so small and isolated. Also, the canoes were forced to tack during the voyage, which means they could not sail directly to Johnston. Tacking for a long period makes it much more difficult to keep track of where you are on the ocean; the navigators start to do what is called latitude sailing. In order to find an island as tiny as Johnston Atoll by latitude sailing you have to be accurate by within half-a degree, which equals about 30 miles. That is very difficult to do without instruments.
A second way of finding the island is to get inside its circle of birds. It is a technique we use to expand the landfall. The circle of birds is a generalized distance that birds fly. They sleep on the island at night, fly out to fish during the day and fly back at night. The primary bird we use is the Manu o Ku. At sunrise the bearing that the bird flies from the island is the bearing we use to the island and at sunset the bird’s flight path becomes the path for the canoe. The Manu o Ku have a general range of 120 miles, so as navigator Nainoa Thompson (who is not on the canoe) explains, it is like drawing a 120 mile radius around the island; this is the circle of the birds.
On Friday afternoon, the crew of Hokule’a, the lead canoe in this portion of the voyage, reported seeing the Manu o Ku so they knew they were either in or near the circle and at that time we estimate they were about 130 miles from Johnston. At that point the navigators know that Johnston is within that radius but don’t know where the island is.
On Saturday morning, Mike Taylor, captain of the escort boat Kama Hele reported that at sunrise the Manu o Ku were flying directly toward them. He said that Hokule’a navigator Bruce Blankenfeld then turned more south and was heading directly at Johnston Atoll. Taylor said “I think this is the happiest status report I’ve been able to send to date.”
According to apprentice navigator Ka’iulani Murphy, Blankenfeld then slowed the canoe and crewmembers began the lookout for Johnston Atoll or its surrounding reef.
As Thompson explains, at this point you would “wait for sunset to hopefully see the birds fly home. Now the birds are navigating the canoe. My guess is that they didn’t see the birds fly back (Saturday evening) because they held a westerly course, north of Johnston, but Sunday sunrise the canoes changed course to southwest straight to the island. “
On Sunday, Murphy reported hearing “a lot more birds” Saturday night and “are seeing more birds today (Sunday) all coming from the same direction in front of us.” She said they saw the birds fly out from the southwest at sunrise so they changed course.
Because there are no trees on the outer reefs of Johnston, and you must be within the reef to see Johnston itself, it is very dangerous sailing at night as you approach the reefs. We did not want the canoes in a situation where they could not maneuver away quickly enough (sailing vessels need space to maneuver); therefore, because safety is of the highest priority, and because we never intended to stop at Johnston, rather use it as a navigational landmark, we designated a buffer zone to make sure the vessels were not put into that kind of dangerous situation.
The buffer zone is primarily around Novelty reef, which extends 10 to 15 miles to the northeast of Johnston Island, which is the direction from which the canoes were approaching.
The canoes entered the buffer zone last night. At that point the navigation was declared a success, we considered this portion of the voyage complete and notified the canoes that they were in the buffer zone. This morning, Taylor reports that Hokule’a was visited by a whale at sunrise.
For a map showing the reef and the geography and history of Johnston Atoll, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnston_Atoll . For an aerial photo of the island and information on birds and other wildlife of Johnston Atoll, see http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/wnwr/pjohnsnwr.html .
Thompson says “the canoes and the escort boat did a superb job. We are pleased and proud of all their work. The entire journey itself was an important learning experience for everyone. It’s those kinds of experiences that required the kind of deep learning that can only be obtained when you go deep-sea. The success of this particular leg only helps broaden the voyaging experiences to more individuals and helps keep our heritage and tradition growing with strength and pride. And keeping the legacy of voyaging alive is perpetuating the teaching and lessons of Mau (Piailug, master navigator).”
The canoes are outfitted with one-way transponders that give latitude and longitude twice a day to the escort boat and land-based support. These fixes are plotted on a tracking map by SOEST at the University of Hawai’i.
February 5 sighting Johnston Atoll ... another mahimahi
The crew was happy to see Johnston Island early this afternoon. Bruce is awesome! We first saw the large building on the main island, and then the ironwood trees emerged above the horizon. As we get closer, more of the small islands rise out of the sea and we watch attentively for waves breaking on shallow reef. More boobies accompany us as we sail at a comfortable 4-5 knots, along with the occasional iwa, manu o ku, ewaewa, and koa’e ‘ula. The clouds are finally lifting, after a cloudy morning and night.
Even though most of us have been on deep-sea voyages before, we still are amazed at the beauty of wayfinding. Bruce navigated us right to Johnston, despite all the weather challenges we have faced. Along with the skill of our navigator and captain, we all acknowledge the mana of Hokule‘a. We are just the hands that help her get to where she needs to go.
Last night before sunset we caught a good-sized mahimahi, the first bull of all the nine mahimahi. Timi cut half of the i’a for us and tied the other half to a bucket to float it back to the crew of Maisu. Russell cooked the Orzo pasta again with sun-dried tomatoes and mahimahi. I must say, we do eat well out here…
mahalo nui for all your work!
February 5 Johnston Atoll
Aloha ahiahi from the crew of Kama Hele as we head into yet another magical sunset.
Our grand excitement today was seeing land for the first time since we left the southern coast of the Big Island thirteen days ago on the morning of January 24.
Yesterday around sunset the crew of Hokule’a anticipated a landfall so our flotilla dropped sails and heaved to so as not to run onto a reef or shoal in the dark of night. Increasingly we have seen more and more of the seabirds that often signal the proximity of land. At sunrise boobies and terns were everywhere. As we hoisted sail and continued on, Johnston Atoll was spotted by Hokule’a crew members around 2pm.
Johnston Atoll is not very large, only twelve miles around, and the four small islands together total only 1.1 square miles. On Johnston Atoll there are no mountains and the first thing that rose out of the ocean was a vacant WWII military building about six stories high. The rest of the islands are no higher than a palm tree. Incredible work by navigator Bruce Blankenfeld and his crew from Hokule’a who found this tiny atoll more than 800 miles southwest from where we left off almost two weeks ago. On Kama Hele we think this ability to read nature is amazing, the Japanese might say, “tottemo sugoi”, and Bruce being the humble guy that he is would probably just say, “A’ole ia he mea nui.”
On Kama Hele our fishing success dried up after we landed an Ono almost two weeks ago. This afternoon as we passed the outer reef of Johnston Atoll the reels sang again. The men in the grey suits were also watching from below and took advantage of our fresh catch of the day. Alas, when crew member Lee Taylor reeled in what he thought was a huge ahi, all that remained was a big, twitching fish head with teeth marks. Not to worry though, Sam Monaghan, our Japanese translator, got busy and had a wonderful bowl of poke prepared for our evening meal.
We have received word from Bishop Museum star guru Joann Bogan that there has been a comet out on the horizon for us to see. Unfortunately we have not had too many evenings without some sort of cloud cover. While not being able to see the comet we have had some nice views of star constellations such as Scorpius, Orion, Corvus, and Cassiopeia. We have also been blessed with seeing both the Big Dipper in the northern sky and the Southern Cross in the south, all within a 180 degree turn of the head. This wide view out on the ocean and the particular latitudes we are traveling have allowed us a spectacular view of two polar constellations not normally seen together under one sky.
Our group of six individuals has really started to act as a “crew”. We are all getting used to the routine of sea life and our respective watches. Three times a day at mealtime I get the pleasure of saying, “Olu’olu, mai e ‘ai.” (Please, come and eat.) I can only pray to the god Kanaloa that we are delivered more fresh fish to quench our hunger.
Before I say “pau already”, one last thing. As they begin the huge task and responsibility of navigating our little “hui” down to our next landfall at Majuro in the Marshall Islands, we would like to wish Shorty, Chadd, and all of the crew members of Maisu good luck and a shout out of “Onipa’a!”
Kama Hele crewmember and cook, James Hadde
February 6 Maisu takes the lead to Majuro
Yesterday we slowly sailed along the north side of Johnston Island and then shut our sails and waited for Maisu and Kamahele to come alongside us. While we waited, Russell cooked some ‘ono chicken curry and we enjoyed the change of scenery while eating our meal.
After dinner Bruce gave us a navigation lesson so the entire crew would participate in navigating to Majuro. Each watch will be responsible to keep track of our course, recording our heading and speed along the 1200 mile journey.
As of sunset, Maisu will take the lead to Majuro, while Hokule’a and Kamahele follow behind. As we did on the way to Johnston, all three vessels will stay in visual range of each other.
The wind seemed to leave us again and last night was a slow one, and still today we don’t have enough wind to go more than two knots. And we’re not moving fast enough to catch fresh dinner from the sea. The crew is thankful to Lita and Mary back home who stocked us with good food, whether we bring in fish or not.
The cloudless sky and unforgiving sun made the day a little longer than usual, but gave us an opportunity to give the deck a good wash down. And pouring buckets of water over our heads eased the heat of the day.
Mahalo for everything!
February 7 light and variable winds
Honolulu, HI - After 24 hours of light and variable winds, the Alingano Maisu, with Hokule’a and escort boat Kama Hele following, made a “very respectable 38.8 nautical miles, given the wind or lack thereof” between sunset last night and sunrise this morning, according to Kama Hele captain Mike Taylor. He says the wind is now freshening to about 10 knots out of the northeast, helping them along to Majuro.
At sunset on Monday, the roles of navigation were switched from Hokule'a's Bruce Blankenfeld to Maisu's Chadd Paishon. Congratulations to Bruce and his crew and to our wa’a Hokule'a for guiding us to Johnston. Bruce's desire to perpetuate the skills and art of wayfinding is proof that navigation is alive and well in Hawai’i. Hokule’a and Kama Hele will follow behind Maisu, as was done on the way to Johnston atoll. All three vessels will stay in visual range of each other.
Maisu’s Report 2.6.07, Chadd Paishon, Alingano Maisu navigator
Courseline: Manu Kona or Tupul Sarapool (WSW)
Winds: 5-10 Light and variable (ESE to NW)
Fishing Status – Caught a few while under way, mahalo to Hokule’a for all the fresh catch. When we get home, we are all applying for DLNR’s “Tag and Release” program since we all know it so well.
According to Shorty Bertelmann, Captain of the Maisu, "the canoe is doing awesome. She's holding her own and riding the swells really well. The crew has adjusted to life on the ocean, but there are still many more lessons to encounter before we reach Majuro." Mau says “make strong”. “We tell our crew the same thing, its important for them to do this so that they can be open to the learning that is taking place.”
Chadd says “the winds have been really light today. It's been switching all day from ESE to NW, really, it's just been light and variable. The light winds brought about a day of “house cleaning” for both canoes, something to keep them busy in the extremely hot weather.
“We will take whatever we get! This trip is all about teaching those who have never been open-ocean before and it validates the responsibility that we carry for those of us who have. We are just really excited to be able to be part of making the delivery of Maisu to Papa. Just as the breadfruit nourishes one's appetites, Maisu will bring nourishment to the people of Micronesia. Maisu will enable Mau to help his people maintain their culture. She will inspire them to continue the use of their traditional skills and practices into their daily lives as it has been for generations.”
February 7 Maisu is performing really well
Courseline - Manu Kona or Tupul Sarapool (WSW)
Winds – 10knots, stable - switching between N/NE
Chadd says “the current weather pattern indicates the possibility of welcoming the trades back in the near future. We have clear skies, cumulus clouds all around us, and calm seas. We caught a “Sail Fish” this evening (we are still applying for the DLNR position) and shared it with Kamahele and Hokule’a. “Yeahh…I’a for dinner!” All of our crew are doing well and send out a big “Shout Out” to everyone at home.”
According to Chadd, “Maisu is performing really well, everyday as the miles go by she gets lighter and lighter and maintains her track. We’ve encountered no unexpected challenges thus far, mahalo Ke Akua. She is a testament to those who designed the hulls, who made the plug and mold, who laid up the hulls, and who built her from there up.” Chadd goes on to say “being on the ocean is the result of our collective efforts over past 5 years. Each of us played our role in the process of her construction, to the voyage preparations, to finally being here on the sea. All of our hard work is starting to pay itself off!” We’ll see you all tomorrow. Eo Hokule’a, Eo Kamahele, Eo Maisu!
A bit of history:
- Planning the canoe began in 2000, following the 25th anniversary celebration of Hokule’a; members of Hawai’i’s voyaging ‘ohana gathered for a meeting with Papa. The focus of the meeting centered on building a canoe for Papa. Let's just say, during the meeting “the promise was made and then we were all committed.”
- Hoku Alaka’i provided the mold, Friends of Hokule‘a and Hawai‘iloa would lay up the hulls on O’ahu and upon completion, send them to Kawaihae, Hawai’i, into the trust of Na Kalai Wa‘a. It would be their task to complete the canoe and prepare her for the open-ocean. The Polynesian Voyaging Society agreed to raise the funds needed to embark on a voyage of this magnitude and would also provide the escort vessel for the trip. At this time it was discussed that three canoes would make the voyage – Hokule’a, Makali’i and in time, the canoe built for Papa, Maisu.
Trivia: What the name of the traditionally made canoe that was launched in Honaunau in 1992? [Answer: Mauloa.] What is the name of the district in which this log came from? [Answer: The District – Puakea, Keauhou, in Ka’u. "I was just talking to Aunty Dede about when the hulls for Mauloa were retrived from the forests of Keauhou. Aunty told me a beautiful story about the forest being full of native birds and how the koa tree was cut down using ko`i made from the pohaku of the Mauna Kea adze quarry. She mentioned that when the tree was cut, it fell to the floor like a feather and how the whole experience was guided by Ke Akua. I love to hear stories like this one that Aunty Dedde told me, and to pass these beautiful experinces on.." Kelley Ueoka.]
February 7 accompanied by a pod of whales for an hour
The wind picked up for us last night and we were able to sail 3-4 knots most of the night. It was beautifully clear as we held our Manu Kona course by keeping Hokupa’a four houses behind our starboard beam. The moon appeared orange on the horizon as it rose in Virgo, near the star Hikianali’a (Spica.) As of sunrise we have sailed 61 miles along our course and estimate our position to be 15 deg 56’N, 170 deg 27’W.
Maisu looks good and it’s a nice change to see them sailing ahead of us on the horizon.
This morning we were accompanied by a small pod of whales for at least an hour. The crew appreciated the visit and many took advantage of the photo opportunity. Russell even managed to use his underwater camera to get some nice shots of them swimming, and we’re hoping someone can tell us what kind of whales they are. (We gave pictures to Kamahele to send home for id.) They were medium-sized whales, with a relatively small dorsal fin, and were black with few white spots and a white underside. They were cruising just below the surface, swimming from one side of the canoe to the other, crossing under our bow. We all anxiously watched for the whales to come up for air, and scrambled all over the deck to follow them with our cameras. It was an exciting morning!
A pod of minke whales swam with Hokule'a. Underwater Photo by Russell Amimoto
The wind is much better, making a good 5 knots almost all day. Maisu shared their fresh catch with us, mahalo nui! Our fishing lines have been pretty quiet for too long now.
Mahalo everyone at home!
February 8 a birthday wish for some steady wind
Last night Kaleo prepared a fabulous five-star meal with the sailfish we got from Maisu. The crew was happy to have the long-awaited macadamia nut crusted fish Kaleo had been talking about for days. No leftovers from that dinner.
Cooking and Steering
Our whale friends visited us again last night and they seemed to be close enough to touch.
Today is Russell’s birthday and we made him a little banner, tied it to the shrouds above his bunk. He was keeping quiet about it, but little did he know we were planning a birthday brunch for him. Taro blueberry pancakes with bacon, spam, Vienna sausage and canned pears to top it off.
Unfortunately the wind didn’t kick in for him today, and it was another hot one, buckets of water provided the only relief. We watched a small mahimahi chase malolo and the fishermen tried to tempt him with the lures, but to no avail.
Timi made a pakini out of one of our broken bamboo outriggers and a cracked bucket. Tonight we’re going out to Club Hokule’a for Russell’s birthday and will enjoy the sweet sounds of kanikapila with the pakini, guitar, ‘ohe hano ihu, spoons and whatever else we can round up. Russell is showing Kaleo how to make those winner salmon patties with onions and capers for dinner; it’s amazing what you can make with food from a can. And for dessert we’ll have some Ho Ho’s and Twinkies – courtesy of Tina and Alex – it is the closest we have to a birthday cake for Russell.
Maybe the weather will grant him a birthday wish for steady wind and 8 knot days to Majuro.
February 8 all’s well on the high seas!
Course Line: Manu Kona or Tupul Sarapool (WSW)
Winds: 10knots, variable - switching between N/NE
Clouds: Experiencing a variation of cloud levels today (cumulus, strata cumulus, alto stratus, cirrus) indicating moisture, instability in weather.
Canoe Speed: 4 – 4.5 knots
Sea Life: ‘A (boobies here and there)
Fishing Report: No I’a today
Day Time Action: During the day the crew will steer by using the sun and the ocean swells.
Steering Stars: Wuliwulifishmunghet, Uul, Mailepailefhung, Luuwb
[See mau's compass for the English names for these stars: http://pvs.kcc.hawaii.edu/navigate/mauscompass.gif ]
Chadd says “the crews have learned real quick that when its time to go to sleep, go to sleep!” Staying up to talk story with the opposite watch got left behind a few hundred miles ago. In order for the canoe to run efficiently everyone needs to do their part and pull their own weight. The watch captains are doing a great job, and everyone’s working together nicely. We’re all happy to be making progress even if the winds are light. We look forward to another great days, all’s well on the high seas!
We’ll see you all tomorrow. Eo Hokule’a, Eo Kamahele, Eo Maisu!
A bit of history:
- In early 2002, Clay Bertelmann, Executive Director for Na Kalai Wa’a along with Mau and Sesario traveled to Maui to meet with Mr. Danny Palakiko about the use of a plug and mold to create the hulls. After long discussions, it was determined that the timing wasn’t right and that we would need to look for other options. As fate would have it, ‘Aha Punana Leo had just completed the construction of a plug and mold for a double hulled voyaging canoe that they would be building for students of Hawaiian Language. Following another bout of discussions, between Clay and Chad Baybayan it was decided that this new canoe would become the twin to ‘Aha Punana Leo’s, Hoku Alaka’i. Clay committed Na Kalai Wa’a with the task of organizing the building of Mau’s canoe.
- The name of the project was gifted us by Aunty Pua Kanaka’ole Kanahele. Ku Holo Mau – Rise Up, Sail On, Sail Always, Sail Forever, in time, would emphasize the perpetuation of Mau's voyaging and navigation traditions through this new canoe. This wa’a would require us to work together as “one voyaging family”. This wa’a would ensure that Mau’s legacy and the values that he has taught would be continued.
February 9 a birthday wish comes true ... sailing along at a comfortable 5-6 knots
Last night’s birthday feast was a hit and the chocolate cake (Ho Ho’s) and vanilla cake (Twinkies) topped it all off. The clouds cleared up over the course of the night and Hokupa’a once again helped us stay on line.
One of Russell’s birthday’s wishes came true and we were sailing along at a comfortable 5-6 knots throughout the night and all morning. His other wish for ahi has yet to be fulfilled.
Today Jason, one of Papa Mau’s nephews, is celebrating his birthday on Maisu. He is part of the ‘ohana from Satawal that came to Hawai’i to help build Alingano Maisu and then sail her home.
After sunset last night we saw more mahimahi jumping, and lots of malolo flying around this morning. Still no bites on our lines… Early this afternoon the wind started to lighten up again and we’ve slowed down to 3 knots. In the heat of the day the crew imagines how good it would be to eat some shave ice. Dreaming big.
February 10 Maisu flying up ahead of us...
Last night was mostly clear and with good wind we were able to hold a speed of 5 knots. Dr. Ben cooked our cream of tuna dinner before sunset and this morning for breakfast Terry made fried rice and eggs.
During breakfast we had an exciting double strike – two ono on our lines. Russell cleaned and cut them up and the crew is looking forward to an ono dinner, something we haven’t had yet!
Throughout the day our average speed was 6 knots, but we still haven’t caught up to Maisu. They are flying up ahead of us.
We saw an 'iwa and koa’e ‘ula today, besides the usual boobies that check us out. Last night another booby hitch-hiked a ride but left us before morning.
We also saw a bright glow on the horizon in the middle of the night. It was north of us and although we could only see the light, we think it was probably a squid boat. Two days ago we saw a propeller plane that was flying to the north of us heading west. We are always on the lookout for something different, but didn’t expect an airplane.
We hope the wind will hold and we can keep sailing at this speed all the way to Majuro.
February 11 mahimahi, shadowed by a shark or marlin
With the steady wind we’ve been blessed with, Maisu was able to get ahead of us, but waited for us to catch up last night and just after midnight we were sailing together again. They’ve been making good speed in the direction they are heading, and we’ve been watching them on the horizon all day, while we sail at a steady 5 knots or faster.
This morning they shared some mahimahi with us, and not long afterwards we caught two of our own. There was a lot of excitement when pulling in those mahimahi because we could see at least a dozen more swimming alongside them. We watched a big dark fish swimming behind the mahimahi on our lines, and our first guess was a shark, but then thought maybe it was a marlin instead. The fish appeared when we passed a piece of floating debris, what looked like an orange cushion of some sort. We floated the two mahimahi on a buoy to give to Kamahele since we had enough from Maisu for dinner.
Russell made some sweet potato haupia pie with macadamia nut shortbread cookie crust for our dessert tonight. He and Kaleo are now working on dinner – mahi katsu curry. Is it obvious that food and catching fish are usually the most exciting times of day?
February 12 hiding in the shade for relief from the sun
It’s another hot day, but we have good wind and following seas. Still we try to hide in the shade for relief from the sun and dream of having ice cold drinks. We saw more koa’e ‘ula today, and the occasional booby. Uncle Maka scooped up a baby malolo in the water bucket and there were a couple that flew on the catwalk on the side of the hull last night. A Portuguese man-of-war also found itself on our port catwalk, most likely washed up with the waves.
We are sailing a good 5 knots. Maisu looks awesome sailing ahead, and the crew is doing well. Our crew on Hokule’a is also healthy and enjoying being out here on the ocean.
Before dinner last night we caught another fish, a nice ono, which makes our ono count up to three. Today Timi is making poisson cru, a Tahitian recipe, where the fish is raw but adding lime juice cooks it just a little. It’s a nice change from fried fish, but we’re not picky. We’re always thrilled to have fresh fish.
February 12 steering by the sun, moon, and stars
Course Line: Manu Kona or Tupul Sarapool (WSW)
Winds: 15 knots, out of the East
Canoe Speed: 5-6 knots all day
Fishing Report: Mahi Mahi yesterday and today
Daytime Action: During the day the crew will steer using the sun in the morning and the moon in the afternoon.
Stars: Wuliwulifishmunghet, Uul, Mailapailefhung, Luuwb
Chadd says the crew is doing well. Sesario and Eddie are doing a phenomenal job as watch captains and the crew as a whole is learning a lot about Maisu. One thing they have come to realize is just how well the canoe sails. We are extremely proud of the progress that has been made thus far in the journey and ask our kupuna and Ke Akua to continue to guide us as we holomua.
A bit of history:
- The Ku Holo Mau project began with the reception of the hulls to the warehouse at Kawaihae in September 2003. The hulls were moved from the Sand Island warehouse where they were constructed, to Young Brothers, by Akana Trucking, loaded onto a flat rack and shipped to Kawaihae in-kind with the help of Mr. Henry Idehara who was the CEO of Young Brothers at the time. The success and completion of the building of Maisu is credited to the many wonderful people that came from across the world to put their mana into this special wa’a.
Maisu at Sunset, Chadd Paishon Navigating. Photo by Mike Taylor
February 13 hanging to a more Westerly course, homing in on Majuro
Maisu changed to a more westerly course today and we’re able to keep up at a steady 5 knots with just our main sail and jib up. Early in the afternoon we opened our aft sail and are now sailing a comfortable 6 knots, not far behind Maisu. We got close enough to wave and take some nice pictures this morning. They all look good and happy out here, and they caught ono and shared with Kamahele.
We caught another ono last night before dark, making it 4 ono so far. It will make another great early dinner tonight.
That’s another awesome thing about sailing together, if one wa’a gets fish, all the wa’a will have fish.
The crew is anxiously awaiting the skit that four crewmembers will put on for us tomorrow night. Typically, voyages have been to the south Pacific, and when we cross the equator all first-time crossers must perform a skit for the rest of the crew. Instead of crossing the equator, we’ll be crossing the International Date Line, and the guys have been practicing for their show. According to our DR, we may be passing over the line tonight already! Bruce got a good measurement of Hokupa’a last night, 9 degrees above the horizon. We are nearing the latitude of Majuro, and will be there before we know it.
Mahalo nui, malama, Ka’iulani
[GPS fixes indicate that the canoes crossed the International Date Line this morning between the 4:45 a.m. and 11:44 a.m. fixes, so they are farther west (and closer to Majuro) than they think they are. The crews estimate of their East-West position on the open ocean is based DR, or dead reckoning--that is, calculated from estimates of distance and direction traveled, based on estimates of speed and direction determined by the sun, moon, and stars. Bruce's estimate of his latitude, or North-South position, at 9 degrees N, based on his hand measurement of the altitude of Hokupa'a, or the North Star, is right on.]
February 14 aloha again from Kama Hele!
We just finished dinner as the sun is setting and we head west into an orange and pinky light. This morning was the grand occasion of passing the International Date Line. Strange, as we passed none of us saw a line or anything! I guess when you are out for so long on an ocean as vast as this Pacific, the smallest things appear exciting and entertaining. On a more serious note we have been out at sea now twenty-one, oh, we added a day there, twenty-two days. For most of us this is the longest we have been on Kama Hele without a stop on terra firma. To date the entire crew is happy and healthy.
We have all adjusted quite well and go about our duties like it is second nature. Decks need to be scrubbed, dishes washed, fishing lines tended, and sails adjusted. The winds and weather have been kind to us and we are well on our way to Majuro. If the weather we have seen this last week holds up we should escort Hokule’a and Maisu into Majuro four or five days from now.
The biggest activity this last week for Kama Hele has been picking up and delivering fish to the canoes. Fish are coming in left and right and it seems like a fishing derby out here. One day Maisu strikes big and we all have delicious Ono for dinner. The next day, Hoku comes up strong and we enjoy a tasty fill of Mahi mahi.
Although we are traveling together, we usually keep a safe distance of two miles or so between us during the day. For safety reasons, we travel a bit closer at night. When the call comes over the radio for fish we proceed to drop sail and motor over behind the canoe, which then drops a part of the catch overboard, attached to a float of some sort. We then retrieve the booty with a boat hook and promptly motor it over to the other canoe, often being given a share fish for our own table. In this way we all get to enjoy the fruits of our labors.
This exchange of fish exemplifies the camaraderie and affection that the crews of all three vessels have for each other and it is not uncommon to find a little something extra for the crew along with the fish, such as cookies or cold fruit cups from Kama Hele’s refrigerator.
Since we jumped a day ahead it is now St. Valentines Day for us. Go ahead, have a chocolate on us! A hui hou.
Kama Hele cook and crewmember, James Hadde
February 15 sailing steadily at 6 knots; mahimahi count: 13
We have been sailing steadily at 6 knots most of today and last night with great wind. Before sunrise last night we crossed over the date line, 180 degrees longitude, and so we’ve sailed a day into the future. But we haven’t forgotten about Valentine’s Day and all the crew members are thinking of their loved ones back home. We are thankful for the Valentine’s goodies they sent with us on our voyage, Snickers, Reeses peanut butter cups, sour patch kids, cuttlefish, and other gifts that we can’t exactly share…
Today we caught one more mahimahi, bringing our count up to 13. Bruce is making an awesome stir fry for dinner, which will be followed by the much anticipated skit by Kaleo Wong, Palani Wright, Bob Bee, and Nohea Kai’aokamalie. The rest of us are looking forward to the sunset show. We will let you know how they did. Much aloha to everyone at home, and Happy Valentine's Day!
February 16 double strike: ono and mahimahi
This morning began with another double strike, this time one ono and one mahimahi. Timi cut the mahimahi into fillets and we sent it over to Kamahele in a bucket with a floater attached.
In exchange, they dropped a bucket in the water for us to pick up, with frozen Otter Pops and frozen fruit cups, what a treat! It would have been even better if it was one of those baking hot days, instead it was the first cold and wet day we had. We were feeling the effects of a low pressure system and most of the afternoon brought squall after squall. Not many came out of their bunks for dinner, which was saimin and ono.
February 16 roughest night so far: winds at 30-35 knots, gusting to 40 knots
Last night was the roughest we’ve had so far on this twenty-something day voyage. Winds were blowing 30-35 knots and sometimes held a stronger 40 knots. Right as the first night watch was getting off and the second night watch came on, a huge wave came over the starboard quarter of the wa’a and tore the hale ["house"; a canvas covering] over the first two bunks on the starboard side.
Palani and Timi got a rude awakening as the tear above their heads ran along the seam near the railing. They quickly put their drenched belongings away and for the next few hours we worked on repairing the hale. We took turns sewing the canvas back together, reinforcing the seam, and before the next watch started, we had their hale back up and functioning. Everyone was in their foul weather gear – cold, wet and tired, but it was a good example of working together to take care of our home, the wa’a.
"We took turns sewing the canvas back together, reinforcing the seam ..."
During the day today, we caught more rain water from the passing squalls and were able to fill a 6 gallon jug for that fresh rinse after washing our clothes. We have laundry hanging out to dry, but the rain hasn’t let up long enough so everything stays wet.
February 17 sailing northerly to avoid squally weather to the south
The canoes sailed a northerly course to avoid squally weather they saw to the south; still, last night they had some squalls so basically hunkered down for the night without sailing.
February 18 another mahimhai, aku jumping but not biting, land-based seabirds
Before sunset last night, we caught another mahimahi although a big aku was following us for a while. We measured Hokupa’a at 9 degrees above the horizon last night, putting us at an estimated latitude of 9 degrees north. It was a milder night than the night before, and the air has been noticeably warmer than when we were closer to home.
We saw a flock of manu o ku this morning and some yesterday, which gives us a good clue that we are getting closer to the islands, most likely in the 200 mile range.
There were more aku this morning teasing us, jumping around, but no bites. Even Maisu crew made a comment about the aku jumping, but no luck.
The weather has cleared up a little, which is a nice relief and gives us a chance to dry things out. The lines around the canoe are full of wet shirts, shorts, blankets, foul weather gear and towels soaking up the afternoon sun. Only a few squalls passed over us – one heavy downpour this morning, and a couple lighter ones early this afternoon. The sun is a welcome sight after the fresh water rinse.
On the menu tonight for dinner will be mahimahi in garlic and black bean sauce, which I’m sure no one will miss.
February 18 land-based seabirds; nearing Majuro
Honolulu, HI – The voyaging canoes Alingano Maisu and Hokule’a and escort vessel Kama Hele are in the last phase of their voyage from Hawai’i to Majuro and are approaching the Marshall Islands today. Chadd Paishon, navigator of the Maisu, the lead canoe on this leg, ordered a course change this morning after seeing the north star, which had not been visible for two nights.
Two days ago they entered an area of very stormy, cloudy, and rainy weather. The weather intensified to the point of gale force winds and all three vessels had to take down their sails and wait through the night. The difficulty of those two nights was that Paishon had no stars to steer by, in fact it was so cloudy they couldn’t even see the sun rise or set, which makes it very difficult to navigate. The seas were very confused and swells were big, which added to the difficulty. They had been continuing on their westerly course to the Marshall Islands until this morning, when Paishon was able to see the north star. Estimating the height of the north star, he determined they were farther north than the latitude of Majuro so at sunrise he ordered the course change to head southwest.
Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and who is not on this leg of the voyage, says “This is a real exciting phase, when you get into the circle of the birds, except the Marshall Islands is a whole nest of islands, not a single island like Johnston Atoll. The islands are heavily wooded primarily with coconut trees and the population of seabirds is very large. At sunrise this morning both canoes reported flocks of Manu o Ku so crewmembers know they are in the zone of the islands. One of the difficulties is because there are so many islands, the birds are sometimes hard to read, because they fly to and from the islands from multiple directions. But with the continuing improvement of the weather and the course that Chadd has chosen, everything is going well.”
February 19 arrival at Majuro
Honolulu, HI – Crewmembers aboard the voyaging canoes Alingano Maisu and Hokule’a sighted the tops of the coconut trees on the northeastern end of Majuro atoll at about 3:30pm this afternoon, Hawai’i Standard Time (HST).
At about 4:20pm HST, the canoes were an estimated 12 miles away from the atoll. They are sailing at about 6.5 knots and hopefully will be in the lagoon of Majuro at around 6pm HST.
This is the first landfall for Alingano Maisu and first landfall for Hokule’a west of the dateline. Crewmembers of all three vessels – Maisu, Hokule’a and escort boat Kama Hele - are extremely excited and very tired after a long voyage – 26 days since leaving Kealakekua Bay. Getting to anchor in the calm lagoon of Majuro will provide the rest and relaxation that the crews deserve and time for leadership to take a break.
We would like to commend Chadd Paishon for excellent navigation on board Alingano Maisu, the lead canoe from Johnston Atoll to Majuro. Also, deserving congratulations to all crewmembers who kept the three vessels together during this difficult leg of the voyage.
After some rest, a few crew changes, reprovisioning, and refueling of the escort boat, the voyage should continue on to Micronesia in a few days.
Maisu sailing toward Majuro. Photo by Mike Taylor
Track of Canoes from Kealakekua Bay to Majuro
(Oceanography Department, UH Manoa)
2/6-2/18 GPS Fixes, Kealakekua Bay to Majuro (starting with last date)
Kealakekua Bay: lat. 19.67; long. -155.92 (departed Jan 23, 5:30pm)
Johnston Atoll: lat.16.75; long. -169.52 (sighted Feb. 5; departed Feb. 6)
Majuro: lat. 07.08; long. 171.38 (arrived at Majuro Feb. 19 [one day ahead of HST, Feb. 18])
Fixes: latitude followed by longitude in degrees and decimal fractions of degrees; no sign before the number = N latitude or E longitude; minus sign (-) = S latitude or W longitude. (To convert the decimal fraction to minutes, multiply the fraction by 60 and round to the nearest whole number: e.g. 17.5525 degrees is equal to 17 degrees 33 minutes (60 minutes x .5525 = 33 minutes.) Date and time = HST.
7.10639 171.37184 02/20 11:44 pm Hokule'a
7.14722 171.28167 02/19 11:44 am Hokule'a
7.14694 171.28184 02/18 11:44 pm Hokule'a
7.60528 171.58796 02/18 11:43 am Hokule'a
8.68056 171.95639 02/17 11:43 pm Hokule'a
9.32296 172.76222 02/17 11:44 am Hokule'a
9.56129 173.58684 02/16 11:44 pm Hokule'a
9.48750 174.49556 02/16 11:43 am Hokule'a
9.23778 174.95268 02/15 11:44 pm Hokule'a
8.89778 175.60972 02/15 11:44 am Hokule'a
8.91944 176.56600 02/14 11:43 pm Hokule'a
8.63934 177.62907 02/14 11:43 am Hokule'a
8.59167 178.78833 02/13 11:44 pm Hokule'a
8.72889 179.84684 02/13 11:44 am Hokule'a
9.34573 -179.41046 02/12 11:43 pm Hokule'a
9.96573 -178.55972 02/12 11:45 am Hokule'a
10.68972 -177.72712 02/11 11:45 pm Hokule'a
11.34900 -176.87600 02/11 11:43 am Hokule'a
11.92700 -175.96722 02/10 11:40 pm Hokule'a
12.32990 -175.15333 02/10 11:43 am Hokule'a
12.97740 -174.37972 02/09 11:43 pm Hokule'a
13.50528 -173.67361 02/09 11:44 am Hokule'a
14.14500 -172.87861 02/08 11:44 pm Hokule'a
14.72000 -172.21212 02/08 10:01 am Hokule'a
15.20250 -171.74546 02/07 11:44 pm Hokule'a
15.71750 -171.00407 02/07 11:44 am Hokule'a
16.21389 -170.45546 02/06 11:44 pm Hokule'a
16.84740 -169.19278 02/05 11:42 am Hokule'a
17.06333 -168.77667 02/04 11:43 pm Hokule'a
17.40639 -168.34778 02/04 11:42 am Hokule'a
17.58657 -167.82361 02/03 11:43 pm Hokule'a
17.37306 -167.02194 02/03 11:42 am Hokule`a
17.21083 -166.27333 02/02 11:43 pm Hokule'a
16.76889 -165.54101 02/02 11:42 am Hokule'a
16.69379 -164.93139 02/01 11:44 pm Hokule'a
17.25240 -164.80268 02/01 11:43 am Hokule'a
17.99333 -164.75333 01/31 11:44 pm Hokule'a
17.52083 -164.24073 01/31 11:44 am Hokule'a
17.12823 -163.45129 01/30 11:44 pm Hokule'a
17.13083 -163.20361 01/30 11:43 am Hokule'a
17.76000 -163.43268 01/29 11:44 pm Hokule'a
17.91823 -163.08778 01/29 11:43 am Hokule'a
17.63778 -162.38111 01/28 11:43 pm Hokule'a
17.52472 -161.77917 01/28 11:46 am Hokule'a
17.52712 -161.74361 01/28 11:00 am Hokule'a
17.50306 -161.51768 01/27 11:00 pm Hokule'a
17.42861 -160.82851 01/27 11:01 am Hokule'a
17.53740 -159.71823 01/26 11:00 pm Hokule'a
17.45018 -158.80139 01/26 10:59 am Hokule'a
17.80167 -157.91573 01/25 10:59 pm Hokule'a
18.41296 -157.28750 01/25 10:59 am Hokule'a
18.92056 -156.69639 01/24 11:00 pm Hokule'a
19.08129 -156.08240 01/24 11:00 am Hokule'a
February 19 a feast on Majuro
Uncle Shorty Bertelmann and Chadd Paishon, captain and navigator on Maisu, did an awesome job leading us to Majuro. The Micronesians on the wa’a spotted the atoll today with their sharp eyes that are ma’a to looking for islands like this. As we approached Majuro
A Marshall Islands propeller plane buzzed over us a couple times outside of the lagoon. Later we learned that one of the pilots flying the plane was a wahine from O’ahu, she and her husband both live in Majuro and fly for the local airline.
We were welcomed and hosted at a small island across the lagoon from the main island of Majuro. A wonderful feast was prepared for us, and we were more than happy to see foods we hadn’t eaten for a while – fresh green salad, bread, and a whole pua’a they made huli huli style. We also cherished the ice cold drinks and ahi sashimi, which we haven’t had since Kealakekua. Our first fresh water shower was a luxury too!
Mahalo nui to the ‘ohana who took care of us there, especially Kirk Pinho, who is from Hana, Maui but has been living in Majuro for the last 45 years. It was a beautiful resting place and good to spend time with everyone again.
February 20 the Queen and President of Majuro
After breakfast this morning, another incredible meal, the Queen of Majuro came out to the island on a sailing canoe and officially welcomed us.
We made our way to the main island of Majuro, accompanied by some of the Marshallese sailing canoes, and were greeted at the pier by the local people. Both wa’a and escort vessel did some work before heading to the Marshall Islands Resort where Bill Weza set aside rooms for the crews to rest and enjoy another fresh water shower.
Tonight, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Kessai H. Note hosted a dinner for us which included local entertainment and hula dancers. The crew of Maisu sang a song as well, He Kuleana No, a special song written for the late Captain Clay Bertelmann. Cap was instrumental in the Ku Holo Mau project, taking on the kuleana of building Papa Mau his wa’a. We all know he is right here with us as we bring Maisu to Papa in Satawal.
February 21 students visit
Beginning at 8 in the morning, high school students started to arrive at the pier to see Maisu and Hokule’a. The Mayor and Senator of Bikini Atoll, as well as some of their council members also came to the wa’a where we exchanged gifts. Gary Kubota, a journalist with the Honolulu Star Bulletin who has joined the crew of Hokule’a in Majuro, wrote a piece on the significance of Bikini Atoll and its people.
Around noon it started to rain and continued to rain throughout the night. We were told that the island had been in a drought for the last few months and this was the first time they had so much rain in a long time, they needed it.
Matson hosted a dinner for us tonight, another wonderful meal where we could enjoy each other’s company. We are so grateful for all those people who have supported this voyage and taken care of us here in Majuro, mahalo nui loa! And we are very thankful for the help of Dennis Alessio and Alson Kelen of the Marshall Islands canoe project Waan Aelon in Majel; they have done so much to make possible our visit to Majuro.
[For information on Waan Aelon in Majel, see http://wamprogram.org/]
Much aloha, Kathy
After two weeks at sea since sighting Johnston Atoll, Majuro Atoll appeared as a smoky haze off in the distance. After an hour or so we began to make out coconut trees and the lush greens of the islands off our port side.
After safely towing both canoes into the placid waters of the atoll, we were immediately boarded by customs, which ran off with all of our passports and Dr. Ben Tamura, the PVS medical officer. Ben was whisked away to the airport by their high-speed boat where his plane was probably already waiting on the runway for his trip back to Honolulu. We assume he caught his plane because he did not show up at the party that evening.
And what a party it was. At sunset we moored just off a private tropical islet and were treated to an amazing Hawaiian style luau by our host Kirt and friends, which included a huge pig, copious amounts of ahi sashimi, fresh salad and plenty of cold drinks. Another Hawaiian visitor to Majuro, Steve, played live music on his keyboard. Huge smiles, much love, and great stories were shared all night long. It was our first opportunity to congratulate everyone on such great sailing and an excellent time to hear some of the stories from our adventure so far.
The following morning after a wonderful breakfast ashore, we sailed down to the capital islands of the Marshalls and moored in the heart of downtown Majuro on Uliga Pier. We were greeted by hundreds of smiling and happy Marshallese and treated to a very nice ceremony. The rest of the day was spent by all three crews cleaning up in preparation for the next leg of the journey to Pohnpei and also to tidy up for the throngs of school children who came by the next day to see the canoes.
Before our arrival, the Marshall Islands had been struggling through a four month drought but today it rained hard all day long. Some of the locals even thought it was the canoes that brought this good blessing of rain. Since the rain was very welcome by the local population, it did not keep hundreds of school children from coming by the canoes to learn about the voyage and have a chance to wander around the decks and examine the canoes first hand. The thoughtful faces and big smiles from the students and crews shone through the rain and created a positive experience for everyone.
As the chef aboard Kama Hele, I spent most of my day cleaning out our galley and preparing for the next leg to Pohnpei, which is about 770 miles from Majuro and a seven to eight day trip. I hired a taxi from a nice fellah named Luckwood Jack and luckily for me, if I spoke slowly he understood almost all of my many questions and requests. For the low price of twenty bucks he drove me around town all day stopping at various hardware stores and markets and even helped me shop by pushing the cart. Even though our stop was short and I was all about business, it was nice to get out a bit and see what life is like in Majuro. I particularly enjoyed the Marshallese music that came from Luckwood’s stereo as we motored along the crowded streets of the island.
We concluded our stay in Majuro with yet another dinner party, this one sponsored by the shipping company Matson. I can not say enough about how gracious the local population has been to us. We were treated royally and given free rein of the town. There are too many people to list, but many of them went way out of their way to make this a positive and rewarding experience for us. Our complete heartfelt aloha and mahalos to each and every one of them.
Just as quick as we came into the Marshalls, we left. Early this morning during a slow drizzle we prepared ourselves, sadly said our goodbyes, but left with giddy excitement for our next stop in Micronesia. The show must go on. Imua!
Me ka pumehana,
Kama Hele cook and crewmember,
Crew Changes in Majuro
Dr. Gerard Akaka will switch off with Dr. Ben Tamura on Hokule'a and be on board until Pohnpei.
2. Patti-Ann Solomon, Rod Floro, and Ka'umealani Walk will join the crew of Alingano Maisu.
3. Gary Kubota of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin will be on board Hokule'a from Majuro through Palau. Look for his newspaper reports.
4. Mike Cunningham, who has been so generous with his time and expertise will be on Kama Hele through Palau. Kama Hele crewmember Sam Monaghan will come off in Majuro and fly home.