Crew Blog: Addy Mallott

Leaving the harbor at Auke Bay this past May, I was still in disbelief and awe of the opportunity and great honor to join Hōkūleʻa to my home of Yakutat. I was especially excited and grateful to be able to go with my aunties and uncles, and the crew who immediately treated us like family. The water was not always calm but the ride was smooth. It was a surreal experience.

Soon, we left the waterways of Southeast Alaska and entered the fog on the outer coast. Being on the canoe on the open ocean transcended time. I was on the same waterways that my ancestors paddled, and that my dad grew up commercial fishing with his dad and brothers. As my cousin Martha sang Tlingit songs and we traveled through the fog, I felt them all with us. Being on the ocean always brings me to a spiritual place where time slows down and being on Hōkūleʻa brought extra richness to the experience. I had time to think about the heart and message of voyage, and of the thousands of hours of work and collaboration and the centuries of indigenous wisdom that came before. It reminded me of the responsibility that I have to my ancestors and to the ocean and to everyone who allowed me be here. I and all other young people have an opportunity and responsibility to carry and uplift the spirit of Moananuiākea, and bring the love and unity and indigenous knowledge into the fight for climate justice, and everything that we do.

And as we neared Yakutat Bay, some of the fog cleared. We could see the shore, see the glaciers and eventually my grandparents house and all my family watching for us from the deck. Emotions hit at once and it was such a special moment to get to be with family and feel my Grandpas love for all of us, for Yakutat and for Hōkūleʻa.

The around 30 hours that we were on the water was just a taste of what being on Hōkūleʻa is like and what the crew does. But even so, her ability to amplify voices, connections and the healing that being on the ocean brings was exceedingly evident. I am so grateful to have witnessed the profound connections that were made across generations, cultures, time and place. They will stick with me and will remain with our communities forever.

Addy Mallott is the granddaughter of Byron Mallott.