The voyaging canoe Hikianalia just returned to Hawai’i from Tahiti less than two weeks ago, and now, she’s about to set sail again at eight o’clock this morning…. this time headed northwest, to Lehua, off Ni’ihau and to Nihoa, two-hundred-50 miles away. She’s carrying a crew on a mission and a first-time captain.
Apprentice Navigator Kaleo Wong consulting with his mentor Captain Bruce Blankenfeld, as they sailed to New Zealand last year. One of many voyages Kaleo has crewed in the last 17 years. On Monday, Kaleo will be his first time as captain.
Among his crew, friend and fellow experienced voyager who has captained Hokule’a, Russell Amimoto. This voyage though is different for Russell. He works for The Nature Conservancy. He’s part of its marine monitoring team of four plus two members of T.N.C. partner community groups on board. They’ll be counting fish, taking photos of the ocean bottom and measuring habitats, creating a baseline index.
This is Ekolu Lindsey’s first voyage, he too has excitement and fear, but joins the others in wanting to make a difference, finding solutions.
Captain Kaleo Wong hopes to reach Nihoa Wednesday, and be back at Sand Island in about eight days.
All along the way, striving to practice what he was taught by watching Captain Bruce.