Port Call at Last

December 6, 2023

Author: Kaden Song-Weiss, University of New Hampshire


SEA on board the Te Matau a Maui

Ship's Log

6 December 2023Current Position: Portside in NapierShip's Heading & Speed: NoneWeather: Cloudy and occasionally drizzly

Hello from the busy port of Napier!We woke up today to a delicious breakfast of Dutch baby and spiced pearsthanks to the hard work of all the amazing people in the galley. It was awonderful way to start a morning of freedom that let us roam the town ofNapier, exploring the capital of Art Deco architecture. Napier is filledwith antique stores, delicious coffee and pastry shops, and plenty of tastygelato. It took a bit of adjustment to get our land legs back on, whichincluded the adoption of a completely new gait and lots of swaying, but itwas nice to put feet on solid ground again and touch grass.After a hasty lunch, it was time to go do student things, and we had a sweetagenda today. A short bus ride took us to a Maori celestial navigationcompass which we entered through a gateway that depicted the relationship ofthe Sky Father and Earth Mother as well as their children. The actualcompass is broken into 32 different houses that split up the sky, allowingtraditional Maori navigators to track their position and heading through thesun and stars. It blew my mind the level of understanding required tocomplete their job, especially when for us it can be a struggle to keep thehelm steady even with a magnetic compass. Even more impressive, our guidetold us that the techniques are passed down entirely through verbalteaching, so no handy little cheat sheets!Our next stop was a nearby harbor where we climbed aboard a traditional openocean sailing Waka, which is a double-hulled canoe outfitted with two mainsails and numerous options for the head rig. It was crazy to see thecontrast between the Bobby C and the Te Matau a Maui: even smaller bunks,single head, exposed flat deck, different rigging structure, and no steeringwheel. Our guides told us that they can hit around 20 knots max speed on theTe Matau a Maui, which is bonkers thinking about how much we got rocked at 7knots in a heavy steel-hulled tall ship. Overall, the tours gave me a hugeappreciation for the trailblazers that inspired the art that I now try topartake in. Seeing the original techniques used to solve problems I nowbypass with modern technology really broadened my horizons on how humanshave connected with the oceans throughout history.We let those lessons sit during some free time where people could runerrands and grab dinner on land. Finally, a beautiful sunset on the rockybeaches near our homey lumber port was the perfect end to the day and dockwatch with an opportunity to fiddle with the generators (thanks Abby) wasthe cherry on top.Toodles,Kaden Song-Weiss (C Watch)University of New HampshireP.S.Hi mom and dad, Milo and Bryca, Che and cat company, I'm having a blast outhere sailing especially in the rain and swell. Can't wait to see you guyssoon and share all of my stories.

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