The Voyage to Rapa Nui / 1999-2000
Chad Baybayan's Journal / Leg 3: Mangareva to Rapa Nui
October 1: The gray pall that surrounds us is beginning to lift. Patches of sunlight filter through the ceiling of clouds above us, rays indicating the sun's position behind it. The sky is slowly turning blue and the sun's touch warms my body. Soggy clothing hung out to dry resembles a multi-colored lei strung around Hokule'a. The canoe, still under the influence of unfavorable wind, moves now at a much slower pace. We enjoy the cool pleasant weather, passing time sitting in small groups, sharing stories and listening to Hawaii music on a CD player.
Our escort boat Kamahele, now considered by all of us the second voyaging canoe on this journey, pulls near our stern. Crews exchange waves and smiles, adding to the growing warmth of the day. There is a very comfortable feeling to the spirit of this crew. Kindness and respect is displayed at all times. When selecting the crew you can only guess as to how the many divserse personalities of such a wide variety of people will get along togetehr in a close, cooperative living environmebnt such as Hokule'a's. Withg this group of individuals, the transition to canoe life has been fast, each assuming their new roles with a high degree of professionalism. Mel Paoa, Tava Taupu Teikivaeoho and Terry Hee, serve as watch captians. Mike Tongg is our radio operator. The electrical systems are maintained by Aaron Young. The canoe's doctor is Ben Tamura. Our photographer and videographer, Sonny Ahuna, has been sending pictures back to our website. It is through his eyes that so many people have been able to experience the voyage. Sam Low, is our documenter, sending back to Hawaii, the information used to support the educational effort of this project. Shantell Ching and Max Yarawamai are apprentice navigators. Bruce blankenfeld and myself share navigational responsibilities with Nainoa Thompson. Nainoa serves as captain and primary navigator for the voyage.
When I look at the many shades and complexions that share Hokule'a's deck I realize it is more than the Hawaiian community that's represented here. It is Hawaii's community of today who sail her. Not since 1987 have Bruce and Nainoa and myself sailed together as crew. It is the first time that the three of us are sailing as a navigatinal team. Working with the two of them is an honor and a privilege. It has been, to this point, a rich and powerful personal expericne for me. Bruce and I rotate through 6-hour shifts at night and 4-hour shifts during the day. The 4-hour daytime shifts allow Bruce and me to alternate watches daily. We experience navigating at different hours each day while the other person rests. Nainoa is always on watch. In the morning and evening we meet at the stern of the canoe, assess the voyage's progress and plan tomorrow's strategy.
This is a simple description of how cooperative navigation works. But the relationship we share as navigators is rooted in a friendship and a mutual respect that we've developed from sailing together for over 24 years. For a cooperative effort such as ours to succeed, trust and integrity become essential. These two elements are key to making our relationship work. Our trust and integrity stems from recognizing each other's competence and skill as navigators and leaders, witnessed from previous voyages together. Somehow we've been able to make this system of shared navigation work. Nainoa has empowered Bruce and me to take control on our watches. He solicits our opinions and we collaborate on decisions. It is now through older and wiser eyes that we view ourselves, recognizing the growth and maturity that only patience brings. It is here on the deck of Hokule'a that I feel my strongest, sharing my time with people of common belief. We sail to honor our ancestors and by doing so, we honor ourselves, keeping alive our most precious inheritance, our culture and heritage.
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!