follow that canoe

Hokule’a’s crew sights Malpelo…

navigating the old way … and spotting new land without modern technology or even a pirate scope… requires patience and skill.

Despite all my efforts to look at the horizon, I was too easily distracted by the unusual currents and periodic debris I saw floating in the water.

Quietly, Mark brought our attention to a particular patch of horizon just off the port side manu. He pointed to one edge of a small line of cirrus clouds and drew an imaginary line to the waterline. Very humbly he asked if anyone could see what he thought he saw, a small greyish shape that appeared, then disappeared with the motion of the swells.


It wasn’t the first time I saw someone pull an island out for the sea. Back in 2003 I watched Pwo navigator, Bruce Blankenfeld, quietly and seemingly effortlessly pull Nihoa island in Papahānaumokuākea out of the sea. It was amazing, of course. Today, however was differently amazing. I had witnessed the passing down of cultural knowledge manifest right before my eyes – evidence of the decades of untiring commitment and dedication of the many leaders and dedicated volunteers of the Polynesian Voyaging Society to ensure the ancient art and science of non-instrument, deep sea navigation lives on to carry future generations forward.


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