The Voyage to Rapa Nui / 1999-2000
Chad Baybayan's Journal / Leg 3: Mangareva to Rapa Nui
September 29: The past 24 hours brought 100 percent cloud cover and switching winds as a frontal band passed overhead. With winds gusting to 30 knots and constant squalls we sailed intermittently, closing our sails for most of the night while waiting for the squalls to pass. The winds have now switched to the southwest, still maintaining a favorable direction for Hokule'a. We sail fast in weather that grows colder daily. The crew, sensing that the favorable winds are a gift, pressed to maintain speed and steer as straight a line as possible before the winds shift to an unfavorable direction and the gates of opportunity slam their door firmly shut on us. The natural progression of air masses will eventually bring winds out of the east, the direction in which we need to sail. At that time we will begin to implement our tacking strategy, sailing into the face of the prevailing wind.
With the colder temperatures the crew is constantly dressed in their bright yellow foul weather gear. As we continue to endure the 60-degree cold on Hokule'a's exposed decks I am impressed by the think skins of my Polynesian ancestors.
Watch captain Terry Hee is the cook on this leg. If you would like to imagine what cooking on board the deck of Hokule'a with waves crashing around you is like, the next time you are at the stove of your relatively dry kitchen, have someone dump a bucket of water over your head. In fact, have them do it every five minutes. If you're capable of walking away with a large smile on your face and your meals still tasting exquisitely, then you qualify as a chef on board Hokule'a. Terry is one of Hokule'a's finest. Chili dinners don't happen often aboard Hokule'a. But when they do, they are usually explosive events and provide most of the evening's entertainment. On the previous leg to Mangareva one unbashful individual was nicknamed Koloa ("Duck") for his unabashed quacking. Profuse quacking does not discriminate. I've heard that both male and female crew members quack loudly although they may deny it. Also to bathe or not to bathe was a constant debate on the previous leg. As captain on the last leg I took a bath daily so as to set an example for the rest of the crew. I explained that there was nothing more refreshing than to replace the stale old seawater on your body with fresh new seawater. A very small minority argued that it was an issue of water temperature and not cleanliness. They maintained that one good cleaning was equivalent to five average baths. I am thankful that for the seven weeks of the last leg they were in the minority. The crew on this leg are all seasoned sailors. They bath daily. What a relief.
To Other Entries in Chad's Journal: September 20, 1999--Thoughts on Departure; September 22, 1999--Decision to Depart; September 24, 1999--Pitcairn; September 27, 1999--Getting into a Rhythm; September 29, 1999--Life at Sea; October 01, 1999--The Crew; October 04, 1999--Cherishing the Spirit; October 06, 1999--Gray Skies; October 08, 1999--Landfall!