Monday, 10/4--Aboard Hokule`a / by Sam Low

We tacked S yesterday and for a time were able to maintain 4 knots. During the 6 to 10 watch the wind backed slightly to the W. Nainoa got a glimpse of Vega which showed our heading to be Haka Kona (S by W.) By 9 p.m. the wind decreased. Between 9 and midnight Nainoa was able to see stars three times during breaks in the clouds which showed the canoe heading Na Leo Kona (SSW) at about 2 knots. By 1:30 the wind went flat until a little before dawn. "We weren't sailing," Bruce said, "we were just pointing the canoe. We didn't go anywhere." Between 4:30 and the end of the 2 to 6 watch the canoe once again was able to sail Haka Kona.

"I was counting tens, pretty consistently," Chad reports, "so we were going 2 knots pretty steadily." (The navigators estimate speed by counting off the number of seconds it takes a bubble to travel from the canoe's front `iako (crossbeam) to the stern, a distance of 42 feet. A bubble covering the distance in 10 seconds would travel 2 nautical miles in 1 hour.)

Averaging the various courses and speeds, Chad, Bruce and Nainoa conclude we have traveled only 27 miles from sunset to sunrise in a direction between Na Leo Kona and Haka Kona (S by w to SSW). Doing the trigonometry in his head, (using a series of distance factors he has memorized) Nainoa calculates the southerly distance made good to be 25 miles. If he is correct, our latitude should be 25 degrees 13minutes S.

"So we still have to go about 114 miles S to get to the latitude of Rapa Nui," Nainoa says. "We need a good latitude fix tonight; otherwise we won't know when to turn East."

Shortly after the sunrise navigator's meeting, the wind once again dies off completely. The sky is clear, the sun hot. "Get the paddles," Nainoa orders, and for a time the crew straddles the catwalk on each side of Hokule`a's hulls, keeping time with a Marquesan chant provided by Tava Taupu, while frothing the ocean with powerful strokes. Fortunately the wind picks up slightly and we move off again under sail, but slowly. Behind us Kamahele rises on the tops of heavy swells, then sinks, revealing just the top of her mast.

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