Hello from the busy port of Napier!
We woke up today to a delicious breakfast of Dutch baby and spiced pears thanks to the hard work of all the amazing people in the galley. It was a wonderful way to start a morning of freedom that let us roam the town of Napier, exploring the capital of Art Deco architecture. Napier is filled with antique stores, delicious coffee and pastry shops, and plenty of tasty gelato. It took a bit of adjustment to get our land legs back on, which included the adoption of a completely new gait and lots of swaying, but it was 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 sweet agenda today. A short bus ride took us to a Maori celestial navigation compass which we entered through a gateway that depicted the relationship of the Sky Father and Earth Mother as well as their children. The actual compass is broken into 32 different houses that split up the sky, allowing traditional Maori navigators to track their position and heading through the sun and stars. It blew my mind the level of understanding required to complete their job, especially when for us it can be a struggle to keep the helm steady even with a magnetic compass. Even more impressive, our guide told us that the techniques are passed down entirely through verbal teaching, so no handy little cheat sheets! Our next stop was a nearby harbor where we climbed aboard a traditional open ocean sailing Waka, which is a double-hulled canoe outfitted with two main sails and numerous options for the head rig. It was crazy to see the contrast between the Bobby C and the Te Matau a Maui: even smaller bunks, single head, exposed flat deck, different rigging structure, and no steering wheel. Our guides told us that they can hit around 20 knots max speed on the Te Matau a Maui, which is bonkers thinking about how much we got rocked at 7 knots in a heavy steel-hulled tall ship. Overall, the tours gave me a huge appreciation for the trailblazers that inspired the art that I now try to partake in. Seeing the original techniques used to solve problems I now bypass with modern technology really broadened my horizons on how humans have connected with the oceans throughout history. We let those lessons sit during some free time where people could run errands and grab dinner on land. Finally, a beautiful sunset on the rocky beaches near our homey lumber port was the perfect end to the day and dock watch with an opportunity to fiddle with the generators (thanks Abby) was the cherry on top. Toodles, Kaden Song-Weiss (C Watch) University of New Hampshire P.S. Hi mom and dad, Milo and Bryca, Che and cat company, I'm having a blast out here sailing especially in the rain and swell. Can't wait to see you guys soon and share all of my stories.