Life at Sea /Rapa Nui to Tahiti, 1999

by Kimo Lyman

Life at sea teaches one many values that can easily be a metaphor for life ashore. Caring for one's resources, because that's all you have got, respect for the environment and eachother, how to maintain and protect your "little island" are a few that come to mind. Hardship is offset with fellowship. Together we work to raise and lower the sail, steer and trim, clean and care for the canoe and in doing so we experience harmony and strive for balance. Simple things have great value, sunrises and sunsets, a delicious meal, a fresh breeze, shade in the midday, a rain squall rinse. Courtesy, respect, cooperation become second nature. Pleasantries are common and magnified, faults overlooked or gently corrected. Living in close quarters with a dozen other individuals can be either, (a) trying and difficult or (b) easy and enjoyable. Why choose (a)? Life at sea teaches aloha as a lifestyle. Our hope is to bring what we learn ashore.

Conversation is large aboard. We've got recollections of voyages past and expectations of voyaging's future, wonderful history and geography lessons, astronomy discussions, environmental and world health, navigation technique, rightous gossip of antics ashore and personal "from home" stories, all liberally closed with huge helpings of laughter. And we've got an on board contest now starting it's second week, guess Lopaka Bee's middle name, one clue so far, it begins with the letter "M". Still there's plenty of quiet time to reflect on one's direction in life or marvel at the wonders of nature.

I've been going to sea since I was sixteen when my brother got me a berth on a sailboat back to San Francisco. On every voyage I've learned something new and the lessons continue. This time one word stands out, support. Without the support and love of each of our family members back home, we couldn't be here. I'd like to personally thank my wife for insisting I "go again" and my kids for putting up with my absence. And we, as a crew, thank all the people of Hawaii for their interest, love, and support as we sail our ambassador, Hokule'a, into the next century.

For more information on the quest for Rapa Nui, go to the PVS Homepage.