Hokule'a Training Sails Journal - Matt Limtiaco

Feb 25, 2010 by Jenna Ishii

Journal from First Overnight Sail February 16, 2010
Matt Limtiaco

I feel very privileged to have participated in my first overnight sail on Hokule'a. While it's probably been written too many times to count, there is something very special about watching the sun set and then seeing it rise again while out on the ocean. Our crew was made up of a wide variety of people (18 total), young and old, and ranging from teachers to doctors, farmers to students. We were very fortunate on this trip to be joined by experienced sailors like Kaina, Chris and Michelle Kapana-Baird, and our captain Bruce Blankenfeld. I've been able to spend some time with these folks as individuals but to be able to sail with all of them together was a huge honor, and a great learning experience. Before we sailed I remember talking to Michelle and when she said she was going to be sailing with us a feeling of warmth and calm came over me. I can't put into words what she has done for our community's youth and its environment, and she started this work long before any of us came along.
I was able to engage in many duties including cooking, steering, and lots of sail work. I also had an opportunity to revisit my star navigating lessons from Ka'iulani Murphy, this time with Bruce as my instructor. I really appreciated the opportunity to understand my comfort level aboard Hokule'a. There are many basic skills that I need to work on so that I can be more useful on longer voyages. It's amazing how tying a bowline can be so easy on land, and then once you have everyone watching, and you have to do it upside-down, and the escort boat is waiting for you, suddenly you forget that the tree has to be under the line before the rabbit can go in and out of the hole. I definitely need some more real life practice but I'm better than I used to be thanks to this sail.
Heading south, away from O'ahu, in the of the Ka Iwi Channel, I looked up often at the black sails swaying across the Milky Way, at one moment hiding Orion, then revealing the constellation brighter than you ever see on land. When you experience that vision you can't help but think about people who were guided by these heavenly bodies, who understood their world in a way we can only imagine. The lessons we learn from these timeless experiences could be the foundation for bringing balance to our world today. We need only look back a few generations to see an example of this balance in Hawai'i, and if you go back far enough, you can find this balance across the planet in all of our ancestors at some point. Perhaps this endeavor will inspire people across the planet to look back to the time when their ancestors truly nurtured this planet and lived in sync with it.
Lastly, I have gained an amplified appreciation for the tremendous effort, dedication and vision that keeps this vessel sailing today. Each lashing, each sail, the hulls and every cleat on Hokule'a has it's own story. So many hands have been part of her history. It's very humbling; even overwhelming. I often feel way out of my league. Many times I feel undeserving of the place and the people I get to share time with, but I do what I can to help. I think that's one of the most rewarding parts of this endeavor. As an individual I am so small, and yet I am part of an endeavor so big, so important. It's made my life and the lives of my family much more rich and meaningful.


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