Kumu Crew: Uncle Bruce

April 19, 2016

In from Starr Johnson ‘98

Today was not a particularly eventful day, so I took time to absorb and listen to the people and nature around. We had a smooth departure around 7:30 a.m. and enjoyed moderate temperatures that rose to the mid-80s. After the 40 degree temperatures we have experienced, we definitely welcome the warm and even hot weather.

When under tow, I followed Kaniela's motivation from yesterday and set up a circuit to do some Tabata interval work at the bow that we have now named " Hōkūle‘a Gym". I used a harness to do modified pull-ups, a loosely after inch line to do jump rope, the deck to do core work and squats, and the pale kai to do step-ups.

We also had the pleasure of doing a Google hangout with a KS preschool which was really sweet. They wanted to see the toilet paper on board and asked if we ate macaroni and cheese. We haven't yet, but would! The best was when they sang a mele about Hōkūle‘a to us! It is so special to see the excitement from our youngest haumana in Hawaii about Hōkūle‘a. They know so much about her and got so excited to see us on the wa'a in North Carolina.

As we were underway I also cherished the opportunity to spend quality time with a living legend. Sitting on the pale kai (the little protection wall towards the bow) I had about an hour or more to relax and talk to Uncle Bruce, our captain and one of the 5 Pwo navigators in Hawaii, about every voyage Hōkūle‘a has taken. I always cherish the times he shares his stories and vast knowledge with us, but it was particularly special to hear him discuss the voyages and the purposes, as well as some funny mo'olelo about the successes and chaos of each one.

For as long as I have known him (since I was in high school) I have always looked up to Uncle Bruce and have always loved sailing with him as captain, but this is my first time being on a long-distance leg and I feel so honored to say It was under the leadership of Bruce Blankenfeld. The more he shares with me or the crew the more in awe I am of his knowledge about history, culture, voyaging, navigating and especially leading.

I feel I have learned so much about leadership from him in just these first two weeks and I am already getting anxious thinking of the day leg 19 will come to a close. To have a month to listen and follow such and incredible man who is truly a hero to me, is a gift I will cherish forever. He has taught me about the importance of being calm in a storm, orderliness and professionalism, sharing gratitude, giving praise and most of all embodying strength and knowledge with the deepest humility and aloha. The leadership of PVS has said over and over that a large part of this voyage is about handing this kuleana and 'Ike on to the next generation, but I also feel it is about demonstrating the knowledge and values of our greatest voyagers in the modern era – Uncle Bruce is one of these special men that I feel so blessed and lucky to know and learn from. I look forward to the moments I share with all my crewmates but especially my captain.

Mahalo for following!