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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 13, 2004

Hokule'a to remain docked until Sunday

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Science Writer

HANALEI BAY, Kaua'i — Hokule'a's departure to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, already delayed for five days while awaiting good sailing weather, has been put off until Sunday.

The National Weather Service is predicting variable winds to 15 mph throughout the state through Saturday, with the trade winds returning Sunday.

Some crewmembers yesterday returned to their home islands to jobs and family for a couple of days. Others opted to stay with the canoe. The entire crew is to regroup Saturday — or tomorrow if the weather clears up more quickly than anticipated — to prepare to sail.

Despite the delay, the 14 men and women who will sail aboard the Hokule'a remained committed to the voyage. The trip's completion is now scheduled for about June 6 at Midway Atoll.

"This crew is awesome," skipper Nainoa Thompson said.

Longtime Hanalei resident Donn Carswell, who downloaded a satellite weather image and brought it down to the canoe, said May weather on Kaua'i's north shore is normally summer-like, with clear skies and northeast trade winds.

"I don't remember when I've seen it like this. This is February weather," he said.

Thompson said National Weather Service forecasters also reported to him that the weather is following a pattern normally seen in winter.

"Generally, low-pressure systems like this dominate in winter. High-pressure systems dominate in summer," he said. The canoe's voyage was planned for May in part because the month characteristically has summery weather, but falls before the June start of Hawai'i's hurricane season.

Thompson said Polynesian navigators would have waited for proper weather to sail, and the Hokule'a will, too. It has to do with giving new navigator Ka'iulani Murphy good conditions for her first navigational command, and with sailing as much as possible in the way Hawaiian ancestors did, he said.

"If we're going to maintain the integrity of the voyage, this is what we have to do," Thompson said.

Advertiser science writer Jan TenBruggencate will be a crewmember aboard Hokule'a during the voyaging canoe's trip through the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. He will send back regular dispatches during the trip.