Canoe Building


Canoe Life

Polynesian Migrations

The Voyage to Rapa Nui / 1999-2000

Leg 3: Mangareva to Rapa Nui

Photo: Hokule'a Sailing off Rapa Nui.

Maps: (1) Map of the Voyage to Rapa Nui, June 1999-February 2000 (5 Legs); (2) Mangareva-Rapa Nui; (3) Course Strategy: Mangareva to Rapa Nui; (4) Map with Reference Course Line: Mangareva to Rapa Nui

Winds, Weather, and Currents of the Pacific

Geography of Islands, Atolls, and Reefs Along the Way

Naked-Eye Astronomy Data

Latitude Stars for Rapa Nui

Northern Meridian/List and Diagram

Southern Meridian/List and Diagram

Northern Meridian-Horizon Views

Southern Meridian-Horizon Views

 Reports and Photos

Reports by Sam Low and Chad Baybayan / Photos by Sonny Ahuna on Hokule'a and Sam Low on Kama Hele. (Chad Baybayan's Journal Entries appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser during the voyage.)

Sept. 14, 1999--Documentor Sam Low interviews crew members Aaron Young, Dr. Ben Tamura, and Mike Tongg about how they prepared themselves for the voyage.

Sept. 15, 1999--Arrival in Mangareva (Sam Low)

Sept. 17, 1999--Hokule'a Day at Mangareva School (Sam Low)

Photos sent 9/19/99 from Rikitea, Mangareva, French Polynesia

The Rapa Nui Crew, with Mangarevan Host Bruno Schmidt,at the Steering Sweep of Hokule'a (Left to Right): Mike Tongg, Bruno Schmidt, Shantell Ching, Mel Paoa, Bruce Blankenfeld, Chad Baybayan, Aaron Young, Ben Tamura (Sitting in the Center). Missing: Terry Hee, Tava Taupu, Sonny Ahuna, Nainoa Thompson, Max Yarawamai, who will be flying into Mangareva tomorrow.

Navigator Nainoa Thompson Under Cloudy Skies

Canoe Petroglyph and Konane (checker) Board by Makanani Attwood--a Gift to the People of Mangareva in Commemoration of the Visit of Hokule'a.

The Anchorage at Rikitea

Loading Hokule'a at the Dock at Rikitea

Sept. 20, 1999--A Traditional Voyaging Story of Mangareva (Sam Low)

Sept. 20, 1999--Departure Imminent (Sam Low)

Sept. 20, 1999--Practicing the Person Overboard Rescue Procedure (Sam Low)

Sept. 20, 1999--Chad Baybayan: Thoughts on Departure

Sept. 21, 1999--On the Escort Boat Kama Hele (Sam Low)

Sept. 21, 1999--Final Preparations for Departure (Sam Low)

Sept. 22, 1999--Chad Baybayan: Decision to Depart; Meeting Max, Farewell to Mangareva

Sept. 22, 1999--Nainoa Thompson: Thoughts on the Mission of the Voyage (Interview by Sam Low)

Sept. 22, 1999--Departure (Sam Low)

Photos sent 9/22/99 from Kama Hele and Hokule'a at Sea, about 150 miles out of Mangareva, French Polynesia: Towing Out of Mangareva. (Wide Shot) The navigators backsighted on the high peaks of Mangareva until the island disppaeared from view; Towing Out of Mangareva. (Tight Shot); Opening the Sails; Under Sail 1; Under Sail 2

Sept. 23, 1999--First Day at Sea

Photos sent 9/23/99 from Hokule'a at Sea

Hokule'a's navigators meeting to go over the sailing strategy for Rapa Nui.

The crew put on new sails this morning for the lighter winds.

The smaller sails were folded and put away.

Mel working the sheet lines.

Nainoa navigating; Tava working the back sail.

Bruce setting out the fishing lines.

Mike Tongg working the radio.

Living in Tight Quarters.

Hokule'a pointing for Pitcairn.

Photos sent 9/24/99 from Hokule'a at Sea

Hokule'a Sailing for Pitcairn under Bright Skies

Sails Full of Wind...the Best!

Kama Hele Gets First Hit... Tim Gilliom, Professional Fisherman, Lands the First Fish in the Mangareva to Rapa Nui Fishing Tournament--a 24 lb. Mahimahi. Timmy's assistants Kealoha Hoe and Makanani Attwood Hold the Fish. (Kama Hele: 1; Hokule'a:0). Tim is famous for catching 11 ahi and a huge ono with a hand line in about 2 hours when Hokule'a was anchored off Pitcairn island on Aug. 25, 1999. (Photo by Moana Doi).

The Crew: TH, Bruce, Shantell, Dr. Ben, Nainoa, Mike, Aaron, Chad, Mel.

Shantell and Max enjoying a breakfast moment. Max really did make it onto the canoe.

Sept. 24, 1999--Sighting Pitcairn

Sept. 24, 1999--Chad Baybayan: Memories of Pitcairn

Photos sent 9/25/99 from Hokule'a at Sea

The Navigators found Pitcairn on the morning of Sept. 24, 1999.

Bruce and Shantell working the sails in foul weather gear

Sept. 25, 1999--After a brief stop at Pitcairn, Hokule'a continue on in favorable 15-25 knots of wind (Sam Low)

Photos sent 9/26 a.m. from Hokule'a at Sea

Hokule'a sailing in 25 knots of winds, heading La Malanai, one house (103 true) south of the sun rising in Hikina (E), sea spray flying over her bow, atmosphere hazy with "smoke." (See the Sept. 25 report below). The crew has put on smaller sails for the higher winds.

Navigators Nainoa and Bruce Trimming the Back Sail.

Tava with Navigator Chad Baybayan.

The Crew at the Back of the Canoe, Sunday Morning Watch. Nainoa (right) leaning over the navigator's platform..looks like he is estimating the speed of the canoe by counting the seconds it takes for patches of foam coming off the bow of the canoe to reach the aft. The faithful Kama Hele following about 100 yards behind Hokule'a.

Tava Taupu Steering the Canoe.

Mike Tongg Steering the Canoe.

The major swell is coming from the south and hits the canoe on the starboard bow as it heads E by S. The swells look about 4-6 feet. The swells are being generated by the winds from a low pressure system southwest of the canoe. The navigators use the swells for holding direction and steering.

The fishing line at the back of the canoe. No strikes yet.

SPLASH!: A wave hits the back of the canoe and provides a natural flush for the toilet.

Sept. 26, 1999--Traveling at 6 knots in 25 knots winds from the NNE.

Sept. 26, 7 p.m.1999--Reading cloud formations (Sam Low)

Photos sent 9/26/99 from Hokule'a at Sea

Ancient Searoad from Mangareva to Rapa Nui. The story of the first migration voyage to Rapa Nui, over 1500 years ago, gives the following directions to the island:

I lunga (upwind)
e tau (it juts up)
e revareva ro a (as a permanent contour [i.e., an island, not a moving cloud])
i roto i te raa (in the midst of the [rising] sun)

Hokule'a is headed in the direction of the rising sun. The navigators could sight Rapa Nui "in the midst of the rising sun." The sun projects a shadow of the island over the horizon, so its contour can be seen in the dawn light before the actual island can be seen.

Hokule'a lifts out of the water in brisk northerly winds on its way to Rapa Nui.

Sleepless Intensity. The navigator must stay awake for practically the whole voyage, up to 30-35 days, tracking the canoe on a mental map of the ocean between his starting point and his destination. Nainoa has probably not slept for six days, ever since Hokule'a left Mangareva on the afternoon of Sept. 21. Here he is studying the clouds and determining the direction of the swells at sunset.

Shantell Studying the Sky at Sunrise.

The Mahalo ExpressPhotos shot on the canoe are put in a water-tight bucket and tossed overboard; the escort boat crew retrieves the bucket from the sea, takes out the photos, and e-mails them back to the Hawai'i.

Sept. 27, 1999--Chad Baybayan: Getting into a Rhythm

Sept. 27, 1999--Past 125 degrees W (Ducie Atoll 100 miles to the N)

Sept. 27, 1999--Thoughts of Navigator Nainoa Thompson on the Voyage So Far Half the Distance to Rapa Nui (interview by Sam Low)

Sept. 28, a.m.1999--Story of Maka's Petroglyph, a gift to Mangarevan host Bruno Schmidt (Sam Low)

Sept. 29, 1999--A night of squally weather (Sam Low)

Sept. 29, 1999--Nainoa's latest thinking on finding Rapa Nui (Interview by Sam Low)

Sept. 29, 1999--Chad Baybayan: Life at Sea

Oct. 1 a.m., 1999--Light and Variable Winds, Slow Progress

Oct.1, 1999, p.m.--Navigator's meeting at sunrise (Sam Low)

Oct. 1, 1999--Chad Baybayan: The Crew

Oct. 2, 1999, a.m.--Weather predictions

Oct. 2, 1999, p.m.--Wind freshens (Sam Low)

Oct. 3, 1999, a.m.--Morning Position

Oct. 3, 1999, p.m.--Tacking South

Oct. 4, 1999, a.m.--Wind Dies

Oct. 4, 1999, p.m.--Slow Going (Sam Low)

Oct. 4, 1999, p.m.--Memories of Pitcairn Island (Sam Low)

Oct. 4, 1999--Chad Baybayan: Cherishing the Spirit

Oct. 4, 1999, p.m.--Interview with Nainoa by Tiare Lawrence (On Oct 4 at 10:00 p.m.)

Oct. 5, 1999, a.m.--Tacking East

Oct. 5, 1999, p.m.--Steering in Light Winds (Sam Low)

Oct. 6, 1999, a.m.--Interview with Chad by Amber Ladera (on Oct 5 at 7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 6, 1999, a.m.--No winds; then too much wind (Sam Low)

Oct. 6, 1999--Chad Baybayan: Gray Skies

Oct. 7, 1999, a.m.--Position Reports

Oct. 7, 1999, a.m.--Interview with Chad by Kahula Hoke (on Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 7, 1999, p.m.--Squalls! (Sam Low)

Oct. 8, 1999, a.m.--Position Reports

Oct. 8, 1999, a.m.--Interview with Chad by Brandon Fernandez (on Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 8, 1999, p.m.--Landfall--riding the winds to the east (Sam Low)

Oct. 8, 1999--Chad Baybayan: Landfall

Oct. 8, 1999, p.m.--Thoughts of Navigators and Documentor Sam Low at the End of the Voyage

Photo: Hokule'a and Rapa Nui under Grey Skies.

Photo: Hokule'a sailing toward Rapa Nui. Crew member Max Yarawamai sighted the island just before dawn on October 8 after a seventeen and a half day voyage from Mangareva (Photo: Polynesian Voyaging Society).

Oct. 9, 1999, a.m.--Arrival in Rapa Nui--Report by Juan P. Soler from "Gazette Te Rapa Nui," October 10, 1999: Welcome on Rapa Nui.

Photo: Hokule'a entering Hanga Piko harbor, Rapa Nui, October 9. (Photo: From "Gazette Te Rapa Nui"; courtesy of Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum).

Oct. 12, 1999, a.m.--Activities on Land.

Photo: The Crews of Hokule'a and Kama Hele on Rapa Nui. Front Row: Sonny Ahuna, Kealoha Hoe, Tava Taupu, Aaron Young, Max Yarawamai, Tim Gilliom; Middle Row: Dr. Ben Tamura, Bob Krauss (Honolulu Advertiser); Back Row: ?, Shantell Ching, Mike Tongg, Navigator Chad Baybayan, Mel Paoa, Sam Low, Navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, Makanani Attwood, Navigator Nainoa Thompson, Kamaki Worthington. Missing: Crew Member Terry Hee; Escort Boat Captain Alex Jakubenko and Elsa Jakubenko.

Photo: Anakena, Rapa Nui: Hokule'a was formally welcomed at a ceremony at Anakena on the north side of Rapa Nui on October 19, 1999. A triangular stone platform representing the Polynesian Triangle was built above the beach at Anakena by Carlos Hucke. Anakena is the landing site of Hotu Matua, the founder of Rapa Nui. Stones from Hawa'i were placed at the northern corner of the platform. Stones were brought from Niu Valley, O'ahu, by Pinky Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society; Kipahulu, Maui, by Sol Kaho'ohalahala representing Maui County; Pu'ukohola Heiau on the Big Island; Le'ahi, O'ahu, by Kumu John Lake's Hula Halau; Kawainui Marsh, O'ahu, by Chuck Burroughs of the Hui Lama Club of Kamehameha Schools and the Kawainui Marsh Foundation, which is restoring cultural sites at the Marsh; a stone was also placed by the Royal Order of Kamehameha I (photo courtesy of Bob Alakai, who accompanied Kumu John Lake's Hula Halau).

Captain Nainoa Thompson (Bio); Navigators Nainoa Thompson, Chad Baybayan (Bio), Bruce Blankenfeld (Bio). Hokule'a Crew: Sonny Ahuna, photographer and videographer (O'ahu), Shantell Ching (O'ahu), Terry Hee (O'ahu), Mel Paoa (Molokai'i), Ben Tamura, M.D. (O'ahu), Tava Taupu (Nukuhiva/Hawai'i), Mike Tongg (O'ahu), Max Yarawamai (Micronesia/Hawai'i), Aaron Young (O'ahu). Kama Hele (Escort Vessel) Crew: Captain Alex Jakubenko (O'ahu); Elsa Jakubenko (O'ahu); Tim Gilliom (Maui); Kealoha Hoe (O'ahu); Attwood Makanani (Kaua'i); Kamaki Worthington (O'ahu); Sam Low, Writer.