September 20, 1999 / Rikitea

prepared by Sam Low, Documentor

Today dawned with slack winds - the surface of the ocean was like a lake - and about 90 percent cloud cover. The hoped for favorable winds and clear skies did not materialize adn departure was cancelled. The crews of Kama Hele and Hokule'a stood down and, after breakfast at the beach house, went about various chores.

On Hokule'a, the crew was briefed by Bruce Blankenfeld on crew procedures forsafety at sea. Ever since the unfortunate loss of Eddy Aikau during the 1978 voyage, safety has been paramount aboard both Hokule'a and her escort vessel. Each crew member is issued with their own personal flotation device, safety harness, whistle and strobe light. In case anyone should fall overboard, the waterproof strobe will assist in finding them at night. In addition, both Hokule'a and kama Hele are equipped with a man overboard device that contains a life ring for flotation, an extra whistle, and two strobe lights - one on top and one on the bottom of a long pole designed to float upright. Should anyone fall overboard, the device is tossed into the water. The strobe on the bottom will begin operation automatically to assist in spotting the device from the canoe. The person in the water will swim to it and, once he or she has the life ring in hand, the person will operate a switch to illuminate the top light. The ring is attached to the canoe by a long line which a crew member aboard the canoe will pull in once they see the top light illuminated or, during the day, receives a hand signal from the person in the water. In the meantime, the crew of the canoe will maneuver to stop the vessel and notify the escort boat trailing behind what the situation may be.

Man overboard drills were conducted today on both escort and canoe. "Safety is our most important consideration at sea," Bruce told the crew. "We must always be on guard against any kind of accident and always watch out for everyone on the canoe. Overlook nothing. Be vigilent at all times."

Both Hokule'a and Kama Hele are now fully ready for sea, waiting only for a favorable shift in the wind and clear skys. The first leg of the journey to Rapa Nui will be to Pitcairn Island, a little over 300 miles away. Once having found Pitcairn by non instrument navigational techniques, the navigators will begin the voyage to Rapa Nui - which will now be about 1200 miles away - from a known point in the ocean .

"Getting to Pitcairn is very important," Nainoa told us in a recent crew briefing, 'so I want to leave Mangareva with both favorable winds and a clear sky so that we can navigate. We will just have to be patient and wait until the conditions are right. But, as soon as they are, we will jump off."

For back reports on the leg to Rapa Nui, go to Rapa Nui Back Reports

For more information on the leg to Rapa Nui, go to The Mangareva-to-Rapa Nui Page

For more information on the quest for Rapa Nui, go to the PVS Homepage.