Saturday, October 2, 1999, p.m.
Report from Sam Low, on board Hokule'a
During the evening Hokule'a coasts east under full sail, but the winds are light and variable, so the canoe makes little progress. Nainoa and the other navigators examine the sky at sunset. It is clear--the atmosphere carries no haze of salt, indiciating there is no wind. The circle of sky all around us is serene.
On the 6 p.m. watch , we steer for a time by holding two strong stars, Alpha and Beta Centauri, off the starboard quarter. Then Jupiter breaks the horizon ahead of us, and Scorpio spins behind us, her deadly sting high in the sky. The stars cascade overhead while the planets roll toward daylight but we remain within the dark stain of night, moving with painful deliberation, perhaps a mile and a half every hour toward Rapa Nui.
This morning the skies remain clear, the winds light. The ocean undulates toward us like a giant satin sheet. The sails slap. Hokule'a rolls gently. Nainoa paces. "We're in the middle of a high pressure area--descending air, no moisture, clear skies," he says. "We're not going to make much progress until things change."
In the bright mid-afternoon sunlight, the crew seeks pools of shade cast by the sails. The canoe's standing rigging flowers with laundry. "Get your washing done while you can," says Aaron Young. "I guarantee you this calm weather won't last." And sure enough at about three p.m., Hokule'a changes to a larger mizzen sail. The wind freshens out of the SE and we increase speed to 4 knots headed ENE.
average course over the last 12 hours: hikina (E)
total distance: 37 miles
distance east: 33 miles
distance to Rapa Nui: 428 miles
estimated latitude: 25 degrees 36 minutes south
average course over the last 12 hours: 'aina malanai(ESE)
total distance: 18 miles
distance east: 13 miles
distance to Rapa Nui: 415 miles
estimated latitude: 25 degrees 30 minutes south
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