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Onboard the Hōkūle‘a with Captain Archie Kalepa - The Test

February 12, 2017

This is a big test for me. For me the sea has always brought some of the greatest tests of my life; my strength, my courage and my leadership. But this test is different. While I have been a crew member in many capacities on board Hōkūle’a, this is the first time that I have been asked to be in charge of it all. From the sacred vessel, Hōkūle’a to the sacred 13 souls on board I am humbled and honestly a little afraid of this new responsibility.

And so our journey started with pulling up anchor at Santa Cruz Island, the first of many trials that will become this 1900-mile journey. We have had three anchors down for the better part of a week and there are ships moored all over this bay that we are in. The first order of business was to pull the anchors in the correct sequence so that we don't get too close to the other vessels and then hook up a tow with the Gershon II safely an without incident. And so our crew worked together to get through this seemingly small task, build some trust, and start our journey. I have a feeling it went well. They didn't say anything but they did look at me with a big smile and a head nod as if to say good job captain! Uncle Billy came up to me later and said our departure was textbook.

And so since those anchors came up we have been tested. These lessons have come in bits and pieces, like a puzzle; the elusive wind, the swell direction, clouds, and how they hide our precious stars. The patch of rain last night taught us a lot about ourselves as the test was having to use our other senses as our eyes were muted by the dark sky, not even the moon could get through. This was a little test for the navigation team. By 6:30am we entered into a dark black hole of a cloud that wouldn't be something for a Pwo navigator to worry about but this new navigation team is testing themselves and I’m a captain who is new to this position. Lucky for us we have a seasoned crew with many deep sea crossings and who are eager to support the navigation team. Our navigators held the line and when we popped out of the cloud, having nothing to rely on but swell, the navigation team was right on point. The lesson, be patient, trust your decisions trust your crew. These are lessons in the purest form!

This is because we have had great teachers; Nainoa, Bruce, Kalepa, Snake, Terry, Clay, all of them come to my mind. And we would not be right here, right now, without them. We'll be standing by 72,

Captain Archie Kalepa