November 8, 2023 | Leg 9, Day 17

November 8, 2023 | Leg 9, Day 16. 
Dana Pt. to San Diego, California. 

It’s still two hours before sunrise when we start to prepare for our departure from Dana Point. The crisp cold air is softened by memories of the warmth shown to us by the Ocean Institute, friend of Hōkūleʻa Mike G, Ama OluKai, and the people of Dana Point over the past few days. As we leave the dock behind, we make out a lone paddler we met on a previous day following us to the breakwater – a reminder that even when it is dark, we need to trust that our pilina with the communities we visited will carry on in Hōkūleʻa’s wake.

Both joyous – it’s Captain Tamiko’s birthday (yessah!) – and somber moments – it’s the last sail of Leg 9 – arise throughout the day. I think about the countless hands and hearts that have guided this waʻa for nearly five decades, including this crew with its deep sense of ʻohana, as well as the chorus of indigenous voices heard since Hōkūleʻa began her journey in Alaska earlier this summer. There’s magic in those connections that cross time and culture, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have just an infinitesimal link to it.

Around 3:30pm, the schooner Californian and several vessels from local canoe clubs join us for the approach into north San Diego Bay. Captain requests permission from the Kumeyaay Nation to come ashore, and the crew is welcomed with songs about the constellations in their native language. Mahalo piha to Moana Alo, members of the Kumeyaay Nation, the lāhui of San Diego that came out in full force, the Maritime Museum leaders, and everyone who helped us celebrate the arrival of Hōkūleʻa to the city!

Lindsay Ah Loo