Thursday, October 7, and Friday, October 8, 1999 reports
Friday, Oct. 8 (17th day since departing Mangareva): LANDFALL! Just before dawn on the morning of October 8, 1999, crew member Max Yarawamai, standing lookout with navigator Bruce Blankenfeld at the bow of Hokule'a, saw a flat black line on the horizon. They called navigators Nainoa Thompson and Chad Baybayan from the back of the canoe and all discussed if what they were seeing was an island or a cloud...as they kept looking and talking about it, they determined the flat line was Rapa Nui...the top of Mt. Terevaka (1674 ft.) hidden by clouds.
Thursday, Oct. 7 (17th day since departing Mangareva): 7:28 p.m.--Just 55 miles from Rapa Nui...the canoe could sail within sight range of the island by tomorrow at sunrise, at its current speed of 5 knots and its current heading of Hikina (E, 90 true, according to the tracking map; see below)--toward the rising sun. Will the canoe continue on its current heading, or will it tack? Will the weather be clear enough for the crew to see the island or not? According to navigator Baybayan, the weather is still overcast with steady 15-18 knots winds. (What exactly is the heading? Chad says the canoe is heading Manu Ko'olau [NE] at 7:30 p.m.; the tracking map says 90 true or due East.)
Thursday, Oct. 7 (16th day since departing Mangareva): 12:41 p.m.--Just 87 miles from Rapa Nui...the canoe could sail past the island by tomorrow before noon, at its current speed of 4 knots. Will the canoe sail by close enough and will the weather be clear enough for the crew to see the island? On its heading of Manu Malanai (SE, 132 true) as of 12:41 p.m., the canoe would probably miss the island, which is almost due east of it. However, according to student navigator Tiare Lawrence, who spoke with Nainoa Thompson at 10 a.m. this morning, he is planning to tack north this afternoon. The canoe is tacking south and north in search of Rapa Nui. The weather this morning was 100% overcast; couldn't even see the sun... (Navigators' estimated position at 6 a.m.: 217 miles west of Rapa Nui; 28 miles N of the latitude of Rapa Nui. Actual position at 6:20 a.m.: 107 miles west of Rapa Nui; 34 miles N of the latitude of Rapa Nui.
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