The Hokulea received a warm welcome Sunday upon reaching Port Louis in the island nation of Mauritius, as part of the Indian Ocean leg of the canoe’s worldwide voyage..
“Mauritius is a very strategic port of call for the Worldwide Voyage, as it sets us up for our next great challenge of sailing to Madagascar and South Africa, eventually arriving in Cape Town,” said Nainoa Thompson. “The stop will bring relief to a crew that just sailed 3,500 nautical miles across the Indian Ocean.
“The Mauritius to Cape Town journey may be the longest time that a crew will be on the canoe for the duration of the voyage. We’re thankful that Mauritius allows us to set up for the next leg of our travels, and it also introduces us to extraordinary ecological and culturally rich places.”
For most of this past weekend, the 11-member crew had been scanning the horizon, looking for Mauritius. They did see birds, which is a sign of land, but with light winds, it made for slow confirmation. In fact, a crew member’s blog said that they probably knew they were near Mauritius by looking at the tracking map at hokulea.com while they were still searching.
The crew spotted Rodrigues Island in the Indian Ocean early Thursday morning, which meant they were about 300 miles east of Mauritius.
“Being able to sight way point, which to the final destination is of importance, to help you dial in with as much precision as you can with Mauritius,” said navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, “so now we know exactly where we are. Going the last 300 miles gives us a lot of confidence.”
The Hokulea sailed about 1,900 miles since their last stop at Cocos Keeling about 13 days ago.