Hokulea & Hikianalia making fast progress to Tahiti: LIVE video chat from onboard

Hokulea & Hikianalia making fast progress to Tahiti: LIVE video chat from onboard [Late evening news version]

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hokule'a and her sister escort canoe Hikianalia are more than halfway through the first leg of their worldwide voyage.

For the first time, technology has enabled us at home to engage in their journey as it's taking place.

Hawaii News Now's Mileka Lincoln got to video chat with some crew members from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

She spoke with Hikianalia watch captain and cook, Kealoha Hoe, who was especially happy because they caught a 50 pound ono Friday morning.

Mileka: "Aloha, Kealoha Hoe joining us live from onboard Hikianalia!"

Kealoha: "Howzit, howzit?!"

Mileka: "Beautiful day today! How you guys feeling?"

Keahloha: "Beautiful day indeed! Everybody is feeling good. We had a great morning. We had a great gift from Kanaloa -- we had a nice ono and we just got through with lunch."\

Mileka: "How's the sailing been? How fast are you guys going?"

Kealoha: "I think our average speed overall has been between 6 and 8 knots -- right now we're doing about that. So far the sailing's been great everybody has been working hard. Hokule'a looks great alongside of us."

Mileka: "About where do you estimate you guys are right now and about how far out to Tahiti?"

Kealoha: "From the chatter here on deck I would say our guesstimation would be about 10 South.  So we're heading to Rangiroa -- that would probably put us there on Sunday."

Mileka: "Wow! You guys are moving quickly!!"

Kealoha: "Yeah, we are.  We've been blessed like I said, the canoes are performing well and the crew has been working hard at steering and our navigators have been putting us in the right direction.  We've definitely been blessed."

Mileka: "You guys left very well-stocked with fresh produce, how's that holding up?"

Kealoha: "As far as fresh fruits and vegetables, they've lasted for at least 10 days, closer to two weeks, and we still have a few of them left. Still have a few pounds of bananas left, and whole bunch of u'ala.

Mileka: "Fortunately though, you guys have been capitalizing on some fresh catch -- tell me about that.

Kealoha: "We've been fortunate enough to be gifted by Kanaloa with some fresh fish.  We've had a couple mahimahi, a couple ono and one nice big aku.  We even had a big marlin yesterday and we let it go it was just too big for us -- it was about 60 or 80 pounds.  We've been mixing up the dishes and stuff like that, so it's always good for crew morale.  We're day 13 or 14 and out here and we've only opened about eight days worth of food so far."

Mileka: "As Hikianalia's chef onboard, what would you say is the biggest challenge to preparing meals for the crew?"

Kealoha: "Really the conditions out here probably one of the more challenging ones.  It's been windy, it's been wet.  We've had some good seas out here with overspray and stuff like that so having our galley up on-deck can present a problem, but we do have the luxury of having a galley down below too."

Mileka: "Luxury is a relative term, huh, when you're sailing around the world?"

Kealoha: *laughs "I think that's part of the excitement out here -- stepping outside of our comfort zone and then for this one moment in time being challenged with the minimal resources that we have in many assets, not only in the cooking part, but in the all around function of the voyage of the canoes.  That presents a challenge and for me that's all part of the main reason why we're out here."

Mileka: "There are so many of the apprentice -- the student navigators on board -- who this is their first deep-sea voyage.  I know that this is not your first rodeo, but what is it about this particular leg that has been special and unique for you?"

Kealoha: "Just the opportunity to be out onboard on these vessels and following in the wake of our kupuna and when we passed the equator, we did close the sails and we had a ceremony onboard.  We opened the day with some chants, we offered some water from different parts of Hawai'i.  We had a kuka kuka session where everybody was able to share their thoughts of how they feel to be out here and what it meant for them.  We ended it with a pohaku dropping ceremony.  Traditional practice is to bring a pohaku from your 'aina and so we dropped a pohaku symbolizing that.  Hopefully that will start a tradition of honoring our kupuna at these sacred places."

Kealoha: "Mahalo to everyone back home and throughout the world who is following us.  We've also had some awesome google hangouts and talk story with different parts of the world so it's been great."

Mileka: "Much aloha from back home to all of you guys!"

Kealoha: "Okay, shoots! Mahalo!!"

If Hokule'a and Hikianalia reach Rangiroa by Sunday -- that would make this the fastest ever trip to Tahiti by traditional polynesian voyaging canoes.

Track their progress online at: www.hokulea.com

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