Nov. 14, Sunrise: squalls; Rain, rain, rain!

In the Doldrums: Hōkūle‘a’s 1980 voyage to Tahiti. Photo by Steve Somsen.

The beneficial northeast trade winds continue, but it is clear that we are not completely through the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).  There are “holes” in the wind, squalls that intensify and swirl the wind into different directions and plenty of rain. Luckily the prevailing wind has us moving in the right direction almost as fast as we would like to go.

Squally Weather, Rain on Hōkūle‘a. PVS Archives.

Last night, the ship identifier helped us safely pass within two nautical miles of a large cargo ship.  From her name, we were destined to meet her at sea – it was something very close to “Hoku Tsua You Shaka”.  We had a nice radio conversation with their officer on deck, who closed by wishing us, “Have a nice day.”

  • course:  west of North, heading 340 degrees True (Nā Leo Ho’olua)
  • speed: 4 knots
  • weather: Complete cumulus overcast (8/8 coverage).  No clear patches.  No high- or mid-level clouds visible through the lower level.  Constant rain, making it very humid and limiting visibility to less than a mile.
  • wind: northeast, 25 knots gusting to 30 knots sea state: East 6 to 8 feet predominant, northeast 4 to 5 feet, southeast 4 to 5 feet.  Wind waves and chop.

Celestial Observations, Navigation Stars, Planets and Moon Phases
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6 pm to 10 pm watch – Our watch had only a few steering stars to the north and northeast – Jupiter, Iwakeli’i (Cassiopeia), Makali’i (Pleiades); and the stars of Ke Ka O Makali’i (Orion).  We even had Hoku Pa’a (Polaris, the North Star) toward the end of our watch.  We sailed on a single reefed mizzen, double reefed main, and single reefed jib tonight because of the on and off squally conditions.

10 pm to 2 am watch – We had about 75% cloud cover for most of the night, and even the stars that did peek through were veiled by a misty haze.  It was a slow night at about 4-5 knots.

2 am to 6 am watch – Rain, rain, rain!  Extremely shifty winds due to many squalls.  No stars to steer by so we steered mainly by using the “telltales”.  Telltales are streamers of light material that are attached to several shrouds (rigging that holds up the mast).  They stream with the wind and show the direction of the wind relative to the heading of the canoe.  You can steer by keeping the angle of the telltales constant when you have no other clues.  It was so dark; we rigged a headlamp to shine on the telltales.

For Complete Sail and Education Data, see the Tracking Map.

Hawaiian Star Compass (Click on the link for an explanation of the names of the directional houses of the compass. Click on the compass for a larger image.)

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