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Sample Navigation Report from the Steve Somsen Collection (transcribed from audio tapes)

The following is navigation report #15 for Wednesday 21 May, 1980.

Steve: Nainoa, Wednesday morning, my first question is where are we, this case with the respect to Tahiti?
Nainoa: Hema, between hema and southwest haka, closer to hema Make this at sunrise

Steve: And distance to Tahiti?
Nainoa: 630 miles

Steve: How about the direction to the Big Island of Hawaii?
Nainoa: Haka
Steve:
Northwest haka
Nainoa: Yah.

Steve: How about our house or latitude?
Nainoa: 7 degrees south

Steve: How about our position relative to the courseline?
Nainoa: 55 miles west 2 1/2 houses west.

Steve: What clues did you use last night to determine latitude?
Nainoa: Kochab, 18 Dubhe star, Alderman and Dubhe
Steve:
In that order, not necessarily not all, Dubhe was first right?
Nainoa: Right.

Steve: What about our present course, what is the course and the speed of the Hokule'a right now?
Nainoa: Between naleo and hake, northeast, 5 1/2 knots

Steve: How about average course since our report last night?
Nainoa: Haka, northeast.

Steve: And how about average speed since last night?
Nainoa:
5 knots.

Steve: How about the wind direction of the moment?
Nainoa: Between hikina and northeast la

Steve: And what is the speed of the wind?
Nainoa: 22 to 25 knots

Steve: How about principal swells, what are you using this morning?
Nainoa: Northeast la is the big long one. Northeast manu and hikina

Steve: Is Hikina any larger than it was yesterday?
Nainoa: smaller

Steve: So it would seem that maybe the wind is going to continue to come out of the northeast, what do you think? Nainoa: Yah, probably. The wind is real straight. Good wind.

Steve: How about the course?
Nainoa: Pretty good. I would like the wind to go more southerly so we can start falling off, but we have been since the day we left Tahiti.

Steve: The wind all the way right? You know the only times we've been steering is just that one night to avoid that ship, right?
Nainoa: Yah, and yesterday morning and early, yesterday morning about six hours, and then the first night just minimum, that's all

Steve: What about, you talked about the wind, I would guess one of the indicators there is the clouds, what kind of clouds we've got this morning?
Nainoa: Cumulus tradewind

Steve: And pretty much that's it, just tradewind cumulus?
Nainoa: Yah, the air is dry, a little high sirius but, the air is dry, the cloud is beginning to line up to cloud streaks, looks like good weather.

Steve: Just for my own review here, the steets of clouds or the road of the clouds are they one of the same incidentally, Nainoa: Yah

Steve: Is it when they kind of line up and kind of evenly spaced pattern like they are right now?
Nainoa: They come in a line in the direction that the wind is coming from. Like they come from northeast la.

Steve: So it indicates the direction of the wind and indicates that it will be straight for some time?
Nainoa: steady right now. The air is dry it's more than the humid air that we've been getting. The humid ones change the wind all the time. The air gets dry is because more like from the trades because it is a more southerly direction so another indication of straight wind.

Steve: Okay, so we've got tradewind cumulus, and they are indicating the straight wind, what about percent of cloud cover?
Nainoa: 25 percent. Plenty smoke in the air. It means strong wind, and the over rise is really hazy. The haze goes really high; should be a lot of sustained wind. When the wind gusts it goes more ea sternly. When it settles down it goes northerly. It's a kind of a little deviation, but basically it's really a statement.

Steve: Other thoughts about the navigation?
Nainoa: Yah, I want to document some stuff Mau showed me. One was that the bird that has a long wing, white on the bottom, black on the top, I don't know the name of it, but it flies flat on the water, kind of high, and then when he sees the bird, it acts like a bat and he's the quickest of all the sea birds I have ever seen. I don't know the name, but they say this bird is a land... [bird]. If it has babies to feed, he'll come out and fish and take the fish back to the babies, or if not, he'll sleep in the air like the otaka, the figure bird.

And the swells, sometime I have a hard time, like now when the wind is steady. When the wind is steady, it's pretty easy to pick up the long ones and forget all the swell mishmash. But yesterday when the wind changed from east to east northeast, the water got really sloppy. You noticed it got really bumpy yesterday. There was a period of time when it was really bumpy and the canoe hardly moved and it couldn't go fast at all. It was about 10:00 in the morning. It was after that big rain; then I have a real hard time seeing the waves. I can tell, but more from the feel of the canoe. When the wind was from the east, we had a wave from southeast manu, so when we turned north, that southeast manu wave we started to surf a little bit, not surf straight down but it came to on to our stern quarter and we kind of surfing it a little bit. All Mau said is you got to pick out the long wave and I know that, but I just have a hard time. Got to practice now, pick out the long wave, which I think is important to remember.

The said set. You set the front sail too tight, you're going to go too slow. Even though you ease it out a little bit, you're going to go higher into the wind and you're going to gain speed, that's what happened today. You can't set the sails too tight and I think we just got to play with it more and get the adjustment. We adjusted the sails, today we brought in the back sail the canoe pointed higher, but it slowed down. We brought in the front sail and the canoe fell off a little bit but it didn't go faster. We eased out the front sail and the canoe came higher which makes sense, but it went faster, that's only because we're getting more efficient air flow. Still got a lot to learn about the sails, just got to play around with it more. It makes a big difference. We're climbing 23 degrees. Remember, it's the same wind we had this morning. We didn't go to the east, we just got the sails more efficient and we got good speed. So from now on I want to every morning and afternoon I'll look at the sun and we'll set the sails, play around with it, get the right set. Maybe I'll ask Mau to help in the beginning. Try it on our own so we can experience the feeling about the thing that the boat's really efficient.

Steve: Rough seas?
Nainoa: Yah, I think it is good. It's better than before the sail adjustment. Leeway is better, too. The canoe is sitting up more. You know when you get leeway, it feels like the canoe is leaning over plenty. It's probably because the sails are in too tight. So instead of the canoe going forward, it's getting blown, a lot of effort is sideways, so you feel the boat lifting, but when the lee goes away, to me it feels like the boat is much more level. We're just sailing into the wind instead of being pushed into the side.

Steve: What would you say that the leeway is right now?
Nainoa: I'll give it a standard 8 degrees.

Steve: I know the first few days out of Tahiti was pretty bad. What do you think was our worst leeway since we've been away from Papeete?
Nainoa: I would say about 15 degrees. We had the weight forward. You know you. It really helps. Yah, especially from the ... That's how...so you can't figure it out...got no idea.

Steve: You don't have any idea where those magnums came from?
Nainoa: I have no idea, but I've heard stores about this area

Steve Magnums tend to fly in this latitude?
Nainoa: Look at the birds. Nobody knows...destination.

This is the end of report #15. Additional note: This is the 21st of May. It is our 9th sailing day since leaving Papeete and Nainoa has indicated that he has seen land birds every day of the voyage so far since leaving Tahiti. Yesterday, which was the 20th of May, he saw no less that 15 birds.

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