Hōkūleʻa Leaves Rapa Nui For French Polynesia

Mar 13, 2017

Credit Nāʻālehu Anthony / ʻŌiwi TV

The Hōkūleʻa has embarked on the 29th leg of its worldwide journey – that will take them to French Polynesia.  The crew spent the past couple weeks on Rapa Nui to rest, take in the sights and prepare for the next part of the voyage.  We caught up with navigator Kaleo Wong before the crew left Rapa Nui.

Hōkūleʻa arriving in Rapa Nui
Credit Nāʻālehu Anthony / ʻŌiwi TV

The beginning of our voyage is going to be the toughest. We’re going from here, Rapa Nui, to 1,150 miles west towards Pitcairn. And what makes it difficult is Pitcairn is only 1.8 square miles big and there’s a couple of other reefs around it. But they’re just atolls, so low-lying, tiny, little islands so it’s going to be difficult navigational trip. Similarly as we leave Pitcairn towards Nuku Hiva it’s over a thousand miles to the north. Bigger island, taller island, about 4,000 feet taller than the other islands that stretch across couple degrees of latitude. But a change in the sky, and the stars and the sun, and how they move across the sky is a lot different than going from this beginning, from Rapa Nui to Pitcairn. Yeah, that will be pretty difficult as well, but it always is. But it’s times of preparation here on land that, again, allows us to have a proper voyage to wherever we’re going to.

Credit Nāʻālehu Anthony / ʻŌiwi TV

Always excited about a leg, always nervous too before the leg. You know that saying in Hawaiian pihoihoi it’s like you’re excited but nervous you know. I think most of us are just ready to go to begin this voyage, to get on the canoe and start going. But at the same time, not wanting to leave Rapa Nui and always worrying about did we do everything right, is everything ready, are we ready. And it’s not until we pull up the anchor and release the lines that we realize that we are ready and that what we packed is what we have and what we have is in each other. And it’s an amazingly freeing experience to just let the lines go and begin the voyage.

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