Canoe prepped afterBy Susan Kreifels
After 27 days at sea and three on land, the crew of the Hokule'a is already preparing the traditional voyaging canoe for the next leg of its historic voyage to Rapa Nui.
Nainoa Thompson, senior navigator with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, said the crew will stay on Nukuhiva in the Marquesas Islands until about Aug. 1. Thompson spoke with Bruce Blankenfeld, the captain and navigator aboard the Hokule'a for its first leg from the Big Island, on Tuesday night right before the crew went ashore at Nukuhiva. They were greeted with celebrations held by the local islanders.
Tava Taupu from the Marquesas Islands, who has been sailing on the Hokule'a since 1977, coordinated the greeting celebrations, Thompson said.
Telephone communication with crew members, who have been staying in homes of the local people, has been difficult in the Marquesas, he said.
Thompson praised the crew, who oversailed the Marquesas by about 200 miles west and then tacked back to the islands. The navigators rely only on the stars, waves and other signs of nature to guide them rather than navigational equipment.
Thompson said sailing past the islands is all part of the experience of celestial navigators -- finding their way to the destination.
"The trip was really hard," Thompson said, "The wind never let up. It was rough, even the day they got in. They had to work for every mile and did exceptionally well."
The canoe left Hilo on June 15 and expects to complete more than 4,600 miles toward the end of the year. Rapa Nui is also known as Easter Island.
Hokule'a to Rapa Nui
Jun. 7, 1999
Rapa Nui, the Loneliest Island
Jun. 14, 1999
The public can track the progress of the Hokule'a by looking on the World Wide Web site http://leahi.kcc.hawaii.edu/org/pvs/