Voyaging canoes nearing Johnston
Sighting seabirds, the crews guess they are 60 to 80 miles out
The double-hulled Hawaiian sailing canoes Hokule'a and Alingano Maisu were about 60 to 80 miles from Johnston Island yesterday, Hokule'a navigator Bruce Blankenfeld said yesterday in a satellite telephone interview.
Blankenfeld said the crew had seen seabirds.
"That's a good sign," he said, since the birds likely nest on Johnston Island. "It's going a lot smoother than I anticipated."
With skies overcast and winds from the northeast at about 23 miles an hour, the vessels have been making good progress for the past three days with tradewinds at their sterns, Blankenfeld said.
The sail plan calls for the Hokule'a to be the lead navigation vessel to Johnston Island, then turn over primary navigational responsibilities to the Alingano Maisu as the vessels turn southward toward Majuro in the Marshall Islands.
The 2,200-mile journey to Majuro, begun Jan. 23, is expected to take more than 20 days.
FOLLOW ALONG» Follow the voyage of Hokule'a at the Polynesian Voyaging Society web site at: www.pvs.hawaii.org
Blankenfeld said the crew hadn't caught any fish since landing mahimahi several days ago, and had relied on the food supply in their hulls.
For breakfast yesterday, the crew had oatmeal with water or soy drink, and salmon patties with mashed potatoes and Tang, Blankenfeld said.
Their meals include a variety of other items, such as white and brown rice, Spam, shiitake mushrooms, boxed tofu, bamboo shoots, onions, garlic, canned pears, canned chicken, raisins, instant milk, granola fruit bars, canned mandarin oranges, saimin and dehydrated vegetables.
The vessels are headed to Micronesia to honor Mau Piailug, the navigator from Satawal atoll who taught native Hawaiians traditional navigation methods.
From Majuro, the Hokule'a will sail west to Kosrae, Ponape, Truk, Pulawat, then Satawal, followed by Woleai, Ulithi and Yap, then on to the Republic of Palau in early March to complete the Micronesian voyage.
At Satawal, the Alingano Maisu is to be presented to Mau as a gift.
After the Micronesia journey, the Hokule'a plans to head north to Japan.
The 2,675-mile Japan leg honors the late King David Kalakaua, who opened the doors to Japanese immigration to Hawaii in 1885.
The Hokule'a will sail from Palau to Okinawa, then Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Uwajima and Yokohama, where Kalakaua signed the immigration treaty.