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What Do Voyagers Do While Waiting for Good Weather?

The eastern coastline of South Africa is widely known around the mariner community as being a particularly challenging one to sail. With the strong Agulhas Current flowing from north to south paired with the precarious wind patterns from all directions, this stretch of sea is notoriously named “the Wild Coast” for a good reason.

To minimize the likelihood of trouble at sea, our leaders aboard the traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hōkūle‘a, on her round-the-world voyage pay extra close attention to the weather, ensuring that we only sail when the wind is favorable. As a result, there are often long stretches of time where we must wait patiently in port for the weather to shift. This, however, does not mean that we wait idly. Instead, the time spent on land always seems to be more busy than the time at sea. Here are several key aspects of a successful time spent in port during this voyage:

1) Community

Hōkūle'a crewmember, Archie Kālepa, works with street kids and troubled youth at a surf camp in Durban. Archie himself is a well-known big wave surfer from Hawai'i. (Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society)
Hōkūle’a crewmember, Archie Kālepa, works with street kids and troubled youth at a surf camp in Durban. Archie himself is a well-known big wave surfer from Hawai’i. (Courtesy of Polynesian Voyaging Society)
Crewmembers posing with Ela Gandhi and other members of the interfaith peace community in Durban. The voyage was honored at the annual Gandhi Peace Lecture. (Photo by Daniel Lin)
Crewmembers posing with Ela Gandhi and other members of the interfaith peace community in Durban. The voyage was honored at the annual Gandhi Peace Lecture. (Photo by Daniel Lin)

 

2) Exercise

Crewmembers find creative ways to turn the canoe into a gym. (Photo by Daniel Lin)
Crewmembers find creative ways to turn the canoe into a gym. (Photo by Daniel Lin)
Hōkūle'a crewmember, Sam Kapoi, does a set of pullups on the shrouds. (Photo by Daniel Lin)
Hōkūle’a crewmember, Sam Kapoi, does a set of pullups on the shrouds. (Photo by Daniel Lin)

 

3) Laughter

No matter who you are, all crewmembers appreciate the chance to crack jokes and make each other laugh. (Photo by Daniel Lin)
No matter who you are, all crewmembers appreciate the chance to crack jokes and make each other laugh. (Photo by Daniel Lin)
Some crewmembers are better than others at making people laugh. (Photo by Daniel Lin)
Some crewmembers are better than others at making people laugh. (Photo by Daniel Lin)

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