Precious Cargo

Every issue of Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi spends its first week traveling the Pacific. We went along for the journey.

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Day 2: Thursday

Crewmembers on Jean Anne stand four-hour watches, and by day two, I’ve fallen in sync with the star watch: from four to eight in the morning and four to eight in the evening. I spend sunrise and sunset on the bridge talking with chief mate Darryl Sykes. He joined the Navy in 1976 and has worked on the water ever since. He confesses to feeling nostalgic for the days before Global Positioning Systems, when sailors used charts, clocks, and sextants to navigate across the world’s oceans. He still shoots the sun lines with the sextant every day and shows me how. His watch partner, Abdul Al Omari, is similarly traditional. The laconic sailor from Yemen doesn’t speak unless spoken to—but a magnificent sunset elicits a smile. “Most people never see sights like this,” he murmurs.

Day 3: Friday

By day three, I am thoroughly used to the ship’s uneven gallop, its constant groans and shudders. Even more, I am used to Garayua’s cooking and the fresh-baked sourdough bread, Portuguese cream tarts, and Tres Leche cake that accompany every meal. It’s no wonder many of the ship’s crew claim that the Jean Anne  is their favorite boat.

After lunch, the second mate sounds the fire alarm and the crew musters for safety drills. The engineers perform the motions of fighting a fire in the galley. Marren describes how to launch the two lifeboats hanging port and starboard. Once the drills are completed to the captain’s satisfaction, the deckhands begin discussing strategies for the upcoming cornhole tournament. Each Sunday, the crew takes a little time off for a barbecue and highly competitive beanbag toss. Noel Camacho, the ship’s bosun, shows me how to time tosses with the gentle roll of the ship.

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