After this voyage, one of the big hopes is that those of us that have been learning will be able to take the reigns.
The Worldwide Voyage leg to Tahiti has multiple levels of reconnection and perpetuates traditional navigational studies. By understanding the history between Hōkūleʻa and Tahiti, some of the newer navigators in training get a bit anxious for the challenge ahead.
“I can imagine that finding something like Tahiti and what that did to reopen that route, it’s got to be such a deep amount of joy finding that. So, to get like a taste of it, it gave me more fears now. It gave me more doubts in myself, challenged me more. Being a kink in that whole chain, every day that’s a fear, doing something, offending somebody, not being able to live up to certain things, to ruin that story that’s been, that our ancestors were explorers and they were great and they were cutting edge and that it’s continued through to today because of the leaders that we have in Polynesian Voyaging Society right now,” said apprentice navigator Austin Kino.
“We’re not navigators by any means. We’re just students and if Nainoa still calls himself a student, it’s like, well then what are we? We’re just like, the tiniest, tiniest fraction of what they are,” said Jenna Ishii, another apprentice navigator onboard Hōkūleʻa.
With this in mind, these crew members reflected on their anxieties as well as their goals to overcome them as they grow into navigators.
“I think my greatest fear is being on the canoe, and trying to navigate as our hui, and then having Nainoa step in and just being like, you guys, we’re not prepared for this. I think that would be one of my biggest fears, it’s just, you know, not being successful, not living up to all that is kind of being put on us. It’s a big kuleana to be a part of this leg,” said apprentice navigator Haunani Kane.
“After this voyage, one of the big hopes is that those of us that have been learning will be able to kind of take the reigns. It’s a heavy kuleana that a lot of us do take seriously. And I think the teachers that we have, that invested their time in us, kind of having faith that their students will maintain, you know, the all that Hōkūleʻa has done up until now and continue that into the future,” said navigator Kaʻiulani Murphy.
With this pressure and understanding of their responsibilities, these individuals are also redefining the terms of success for this voyage to Tahiti.
“It’s not that we were able to navigate this and find this independent and everyone else is just quietly sitting by and watching us necessarily try things make mistakes, try them outthat really, really engage that opportunity to learn. Becausegoing to Tahiti is not a very frequent voyage. It’s been, I think, 19 years since we did this to Tahiti and it’s just a golden opportunity to learn so much,” said Lehua Kamalu, apprentice navigator.
“When we find, you know, Tahiti or the Tuamotus, whichever comes first for me, I think, I’ll feel good that we honored our teachers that they’ve done their job and that’s what Mau told Nainoa, you know. It’s that they’ve passed down everything they could in the best way possible that we could then take it, take it on,” said Jenna.