Canoe Building


Canoe Life

Polynesian Migrations

The Voyage to Rapa Nui / 1999-2000

Leg 5: Tahiti to Hawai'i

Photo below by A. Makanani: Hokule'a's twin masts appear above a huge Pacific Swell

Maps: (1) Map of the Voyage to Rapa Nui, June 1999-February 2000; (2) Map with Reference Course Line: Tahiti to Hawai'i (See Feb. 18 report for explanation of modifications in Route)

Course Strategy: Hawai'i to Tahiti

Winds, Weather, and Currents of the Pacific 

Reports and Photos

Reports by Sam Low / Photos by Sam Low on Hokule'a and Makanani Atwood on Kama Hele / Photo Captions by Dr. Ming-lei Tim Sing

January 27: The Old Men of Tautira

January 27 and 28 Reports--Preparations for Departure

January 29 and 30 Reports--Notes on Navigation; Watching the Weather

January 31 Report--Wind Watch

January 31 Photo--Nainoa, Shantell, Ka'iulani, and Kahualaulani Plotting the Course to Hawai'i (See Jan. 29 report.)

Feb.1 and 2 Reports--Wind Watch

Feb.3--Departure Delayed

Feb. 4--Navigation Lessons Before Departure

Feb. 4 / Photo--The Medical Team: Dr. Ming-lei Tim Sing and Kau'i Pelekane

Feb. 5 / Photo --Tautira Farewell: Tereraura says goodbye to expedition doctor Ming-Lei (posted 2/07).

Feb. 6--A Squally First Night

Feb. 7--Sighting Tikehau

Photos posted February 7-- Photo 1: Chad points out Tikehau in the dawn light. / Photo 2: Tikehau Atoll--Coconut Palms / Photo 3: Nainoa goes over the navigation with Shantell / Photo 4: Ming and Pomai making breakfast--banana pancakes and salmon omelette! / Photo 5: First day out on our way home to Hawaii. Hokule'a is being steered by Nainoa who is showing Ka'iulani and Shantell some of the nuances of steering in variable winds ranging from 10-20 knots. / Photo 6: In the afternoon and evening the wind increases to 20 knots from the E-SE gusting from 40-45 knots with occassional squalls. The crew is forced to take in sail and heave-to about ten times on the first day at sea. Here Tava and bruce change out a light wind to a heavy wind jib.

Feb. 8--Calmer Seas

Feb. 9--Light Winds

Photos posted February 9-- Photo 1: Kona and Kau'i help put on a bigger sail for light wind conditions. / Photo 2: Life-giving Water of Kane: Tava gathers a handful of precious fresh water from a passing squall / Photo 3: Kona showers in the passing rain. / Photo 4: Ming tries the Steering Paddle. / Photo 5: Pomai and Kahua Make Music / Photo 6: Navigators huddle beneath a rainbow. / Photo 7: Sunrise, Feb. 8

Feb. 10--Very Slow Going

Photos posted February 10-- Photo 1: Joey Mallot spreads a tarp to protect the crew against the intense heat of the tropical sun. Photo 2: Kahua finds shelter from the blinding sunlight in the net under the front deck...his pareau reflected in the still ocean beneath. / Photo 3: Snakes takes shelter under the tarp. / Photo 4: Kau'i types up an e-mail report.

Feb. 11 (with Photos): Weather Forecasting from Signs in the Ocean and Sky--Returning Trades by Nainoa Thompson

Feb. 11--Moving Again

Photos posted February 11-- Photo 1: As the winds came up yesterday afternoon, Hokule'a started sailing again; Joey Mallot steering. / Photo 2: Hokule'a sailing at sunset. / Photo 3: Escort Boat Kama Hele Captain: Alex Jakubenko.. / Photo 4: The Escort Boat Crew: Our Tahitian Brothers: lt to rt: Richard Konn, Eric Deane (w/shaka sign),Teikinui Tamarii (steering) and Mate Hoatua. / Photo 5: Sunset, Feb. 10, 2000.

Photos posted February 12-- Photo 1: Hokule'a under sail at sunrise, Feb. 12. / Photo 2: Tava and Shantell guiding the canoe. / Photo 3: Nainoa watching for squalls; squall activity picked up again, Feb. 11. / Photo 4: Wrapping up the back sail before a squall hits. / Photo 5: Snake and Mike pull down the jib as the squall approaches.

Feb. 13--Squalls again.

Photos posted February 13-- Photo 1: Nainoa goes over navigation with his students Shantell, Kahua, and Ka'iu, Sunday Morning, February 13. After a hard night of dodging many squalls, the navigators discuss their position. Because the night sky was almost totally clouded over,they had no opportunity to observe the stars, so they must estimate where they are by dead reckoning--averaging various headings, speeds, and deviations from their course. / Photo 2: A ghostly-looking freighter passes Hokule'a in the misty rain. / Photo 3: Passing mail and photos between escort boat and canoe.

Feb. 14: Clear Skies; Determining Latitude from Star Pairs

Feb. 14--Reading Clouds: The Road of the Wind (with photo) by Nainoa Thompson

Photos posted February 14--Photo 1: Hokule'a Sailing in 10 knots of wind under clear skies / Photo 2: Silhouettes on Evening Watch--Joey and Chad at Sunset. / Photo 3: Bright morning: Snake Ah Hee / Photo 4: Documentor Sam Low: Out from Behind the Camera / Photo 5: Happy Valentine's Day from the Crew to Loved Ones Back Home.

Feb. 15: Nainoa's Weather Analysis at Sunrise: Light Winds and Fair Weather Ahead

Photos posted February 15-- Photo 1: Fair-wind clouds at sunrise / Photo 2: First fish: a small aku pulled in by Hokule'a fisherman Bruce Blankenfeld / Photo 3: Ready for sashimi.

Feb. 16: Trying to hold the course line; Hokule'a and the Internet

Photos posted February 16-- Photo 1: Heading for Home: Hokule'a's Manu / Photo 2: Six Canoe Sisters (The most ever on a single Hokule'a crew--Kona, Kau'i, Ka'iulani, Ming, Pomai, Shantell). / Photo 3: Ka'iulani and Shantell Going Over the Navigation (Shan is looking intense!) / Photo 4: Ka'iulani Steering in a Light Rain Squall. Apprentice navigators Ka'iulani and Kahualaulani stand longer and more frequent watches than the rest of the crew--six hours on and six off./ Photo 5: Darkening Skies:February 15-sunset Tava steers into an impending line of squalls, bringing the canoe slightly off the wind so a crew working at the bow can bring down the jib. / Photo 6: Bruce Steering: The sweep is tied to port because Hokule'a is trimmed to have a 'windward helm'--to steer herself off the wind. In fickle winds, Nainoa experiments with shifting weight on the canoe, trimming, and changing the sails to achieve top performance. / Photo 7: Breakfast Meeting at Sea, February 16.

Feb. 17: A New Sail Plan

Photos posted February 17-- Photo 1: Feb. 17--Hokulea's sailing in rougher seas, stronger winds. / Photo 2: The crew lowers the back rig to put on a smaller sail for the stronger winds. / Photo 3: Nainoa and Bruce pulls in another small aku just after sunrise on Feb. 17. / Photo 4: Ono! Fresh raw fish for breakfast!

Feb. 18: A New Reference Course Line

Photos posted February 18-- Photo 1: Feb 18-Hokule'a's steering sweep is tied up; the canoe, balanced by her sail trim, is steering herself in 15 knot winds and steep eight foot swells. / Photo 2: Pomai, Tava, and Nainoa adjusts the sheet lines as after a squall sweeps across the desk of the canoe. / Photo 3: Nainoa and Kaiulani going over the navigation at sunrise. / Photo 4: Navigator Chad Baybayan / Photo 5: Veteran Voyager and Radio Operator Mike Tongg.

Feb. 20 a.m.: Crossing the Equator

Photos posted February 20-- Photo 1: Feb 19-Hokule'a sailing in 25 knots winds, 8-foot swells; the winds have picked up after Hokule'a entered the northern hemisphere. / Photo 2: Hokule'a sailing under a squall. / Photo 3: The novice crew (crossing the equator for the first time) entertains the veterans. Dr. Tim Sing's newly formed halau. / Photo 4: Nainoa gets ready to carve up the a'u caught this morning, Feb. 20 / Photo 5: The crew steering at the back of the canoe.

Feb. 20: Reading the Clouds and Sea State (by Nainoa Thompson)

Feb. 20 p.m.: Sailing on the Edge of the Wind

Feb. 21 a.m.: Gaining Back Some Easting

Feb. 22 a.m.: On the reference course line again and heading home

Feb. 23: Strong trade winds; putting up a storm sail.

Photos Sent from Na'alehu Elementary School, 3rd Grade, on the Big Island: Tracking Hokule'a--Photo 1: A student logged onto the website: Where are they? What are they doing today? / Photo 2: The tracking board: plotting the position of the canoe. / Photo 3: Students drawing pictures of the canoe. / Photo 4: The finished drawings. / Photo 5: Drawings posted. / Photo 6: Hokule'a is Calling! Pomaikalani Bertelmann of the Big Island called Na'alehu Elementary on Feb. 23 to give them a live update from the canoe. (Courtesy of Vanessa Sales, 3rd Grade Teacher; Mary Aranguena, Technology Coordinator; Matt Willard, Technology Assistant)

Photos posted February 23-- Photo 1: Hokule'a sailing at sunrise, Feb. 22. / Photo 2: Charging Home--brisk 25-30 knot tradewinds are driving the canoe homeward. / Photo 3: The winds have been so strong, the canoe had to heave to in ten-foot seas to tighten the rigging. / Photo 4: The crew tightens the rigging; the hull almost hidden by the large swells. / Photo 5: Mike Tongg pulling in something big on the fishing line. / Photo 6: The prize: a 130 lb. ahi. Photo 7: The 10 a.m.-2 p.m watch.

Feb. 24: Moderating trade winds

Feb. 25: Entering the Search Area. The navigators have been measuring the altitudes of Hokupa'a and stars crossing the meridian near the horizon at night to determine their latitude. The estimate for Feb. 24 p.m. near midnight was 17 degrees 30' from a measurement of Miaplacidus, which was less than 3 degrees above the horizon; actual latitude was 17 degrees 09'; so the latitude estimate of the navigators in training (Shantell, Kahualaulani, and Ka'iulani) was within 21 miles of their actual latitude after almost 2000 miles of sailing and navigating. Winds are forecasted to be at 15-25 knots as the canoe approaches Hawai'i.

Photos posted February 25--Photo 1: Feb. 25--Hokule'a sailing home under gray skies; storm sail on back mast.. / Photo 2: Two days earlier, the sea was wind-whipped and rough. / Photo 3: The canoe stopped and put down its sails in the strong winds to put up a smaller sail. / Photo 4: Only the top of the twin masts were visible from behind a huge swell. / Photo 5: Portrait of Pomaikalani Bertelmann.

Feb. 26: Report from Na Pua No'eau students Likeke Sawyer of Moloka'i and Kahula Hoke of Hawai'i, based on a call from navigator in training Kahualaulani Mick.

Photos posted February 26--Photo 1: Feb. 26--Sunrise. / Photo 2: Nainoa on lookout for land. / Photo 3: The crew on lookout for land. / Photo 4: Mike, Kau'i, and Tava manning the sweeps to keep the canoe on its downwind course toward Hawai'i.

Feb. 26: Looking for Land

Feb. 27: Home

Photos /Feb. 27: Photo 1: Sailing off Maui. / Photo 2: Sailing off Maui (close-up). / Photo 3: Along the Valleys of East Moloka'i. / Photo 4: Toward Kauankakai, Moloka'i

Feb. 27 Moloka'i Welcome (From Cat Fuller) / Moloka'i Welcome (From Likeke Sawyer)

Hokule'a Crew / Tahiti to Hawai'i 2000: Snake Ah Hee, Chad Baybayan, Pomaikalani Bertelmann, Bruce Blankenfeld, Shantell Ching, Sam Low, Joey Mallot, Kahualaulani Mick, Ka'iulani Murphy, Kau'i Pelekane, "Tava" Teikihe'epo Taupu, Nainoa Thompson, Mike Tongg, Dr. Patrice Ming-Lei Tim Sing, Kona Woolsey. (Total: 15.)

Kama Hele Crew / Tahiti to Hawai'i 2000: Alex and Elsa Jakubenko, Makanani Atwood (Hawai'i), Eric Deane (Tahiti), Mate Hoatua (Tahiti), Richard Konn (Tahiti), and Teikinui Tamarii (Tahiti). About the Escort Boat Kama Hele and its Owners, Alex and Elsa Jakubenko.Photo: Escort Boat Owners Elsa and Alex Jakubenko in Rapa Nui.