Hokulea could reach Rangiroa by Sunday: LIVE video chat from onboard

Hokulea could reach Rangiroa by Sunday: LIVE video chat from onboard

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 apprentice navigator, Kala Baybayan.

Mileka: "How's it going?"

Kala: "Good, good.  The longest voyage before this one was 48 hours for me, so it's been quite an adjustment, but now all the seasickness is gone.  After about the tenth day, you're settled into the life it's just like, 'Ah, it's just another day'.  This is a voyage to honor our educators and I have been learning so much out here.  I feel that even though I've only been out here for thirteen days at sea I've learned exponentially because I am in this uninterrupted atmosphere where everything is around me.  This is what we get up and we live for each day -- is to see the clouds the sun the swells the wind and how all of this is working together to put us in our position in our environment."

Mileka: "Tell me about how you're navigating without any modern-day instruments?"

Kala: "We calibrate our hands to measure the altitude of stars in the sky and it tells us about how many degrees high they are and we can then translate that to our latitude.  We're using the two stars that circle around the north star when it lines up with another star -- we measure the altitude of that and it'll tell us our latitude south."

Mileka: "I hear you guys are moving really quickly, around 6 - 8 knots, and that you might make landfall by Sunday."

Kala: "Yeah, we hear stories about it's going to take 32 days or 21 -24 days -- we are at day 13 and you know we're getting there.  We're really close, we're maybe 240 miles away from making our 14 degree south mark at about that mark we'll be able to see the birds that will indicate we're close to land."

Mileka: "You're on Hikianalia following Hokule'a and onboard of course is your dad Pwo navigator Kalepa Baybayan -- what does it feel like to be literally following in his footsteps now as an apprentice navigator?"

Kala: "This is something so special that we share father and daughter.  Before I began this I always wondered what it was about canoes that really impassioned him and when he gave me that chance to sail with him ten years ago, I got to see what it was that he loved and then it became a passion of my own. To become a navigator is a dream of mine and to make these long voyages and apprentice and learn the ways of our ancestors -- and now I'm finally to this point where I'm making this huge crossing to Tahiti.  It's surreal.  I can't believe I've made it this far and to have my father within eye distance of me -- well not him per say, but the canoe -- I feel safe, I know that he's there.  I'm always thinking about him, all the time.  Sometimes we radio check and sometimes he'll be on and so I'll go on and be like, 'Hey Dad, how's it going?'  It's those little moments, those little short few seconds that we even get to talk to each other -- it really just makes me happy and lifts my spirits.  It's just so special, I feel so blessed to be sharing this experience with him."

Mileka: "We just want to say mahalo, thank you so much for spending time with us today.  Please give all of our aloha to the crew.  We're so proud of you guys."

Kala: "Thank you for all that you guys are doing and for all of our community support back home and following our voyage.  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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