pacific northwest labor history association conference: the keynote address

It has been on my mind, and on my to-do list, to write more about the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association Conference*, which I was fortunate to attend in May of this year.

In my post twelve reasons i loved the pacific northwest labor history association conference, I listed:

The keynote: "Reckoning with the Past to Move Forward". The keynote speaker was Moon-Ho Jung, a historian at the University of Washington. His speech was riveting, and set the radical tone for the day.

A stranger in a strange land

Jung led the audience through the path that formed his own worldview, and the lens through which he views history. He talked first about growing up as an Asian-American in the Detroit area in the 1970s and 1980s, and his family's discourse around the US and immigration. 

My family never sat around and talked about history. But there were lots of historical tidbits that got mentioned over and over. I remember my family talking about how brutal Japanese colonialism in Korea had been.

There was one particular story of Japanese colonial officials ripping the fingernails out of Korean Christians that was told often and in graphic detail. I knew very little about the history of Japanese colonialism, but I was taught from an early age that it had been sadistic and inhumane. To this day, whenever Japanese colonialism is mentioned, I think about fingernails.

The United States, on the other hand, received a far better and lighter treatment in our household. It was a Christian country, the land of freedom. It was the United States that had supposedly liberated Korea from Japanese colonialism.

And that image co-existed somehow with our family's daily encounters with white supremacy in the United States. We encountered a lot of overt racism in Michigan in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Growing up in a Reagan Democrat, white working-class neighborhood with the name "Moon-Ho Jung" wasn't exactly easy.

Being called a "chink" or a "Jap" was almost a daily occurrence. One day in elementary school, it got so bad that I came home crying. You know what my mom's advice was: "Tell them you're Korean." Thanks, mom.

Although I blend in better than most people who identify as Asian American or Asian Canadian, I've encountered plenty of anti-Semitism. From a very early age, I was aware that in the scheme of America, Jews are not quite white. Like Jung, I was also raised with gruesome and one-sided associations of certain ethnicities and nationalities.  

Jung addressed the question, the one every person of Asian descent in North America is asked, the one that (in my experience) white people are least likely to understand as offensive and racist: "Where are you from?"

In the most benign terms, the question is a symptom of a dominant mythology that would have us believe that the United States is a "nation of immigrants." The question could be extended to, "Where is your family from?" At some point or another, it seems, we're all supposed to be able to identify a family member or an ancestral figure who dared to "immigrate" to the United States.

In that vein, most Americans, including Asian Americans, generally like to narrate their history along generational lines. The first generation immigrates; the second generation rebels against their immigrant parents to become more "Americanized"; over time, future generations become more and more "American" and fully "assimilated."

I don't play that generational game anymore. When I'm asked where I'm from or what generation I am or some variation thereof, I no longer get defensive. I pivot to offense because I know that we cannot narrate our history along a generational model. "I don't know," I say. "America came to us, called us 'gooks,' and then killed 4 million of us, so you tell me what generation that makes me?" Conversation killer.

Most Americans would probably find my answer offensive because it is that global context of US imperial violence that narratives of US history are supposed to erase.

He linked this perspective back to the right-wing's drive to distort and erase history. 

That is why conservatives have been waging war against the teaching of Ethnic Studies, Critical Race Theory, and critical anything for generations. They believe that history is something to be worshipped and celebrated, mostly to justify and perpetuate the racial and colonial order that their white settler ancestors created.
. . . .
In the version of US history that I learned growing up, Asian Americans were virtually invisible. I cannot recall the textbook we used in AP US History, but I can guess when and where Asian Americans must have appeared first. The Chinese were most likely mentioned in reference to the California Gold Rush or the building of the first transcontinental railroad. 
That aspect of Asian American history can fit so neatly into the epic drama that has supposedly defined and made America: Chinese immigrants, hoping to make it rich in America, crossed the Pacific to live out their American Dream. The United States is indeed the "nation of immigrants."
America as empire; Americanness is whiteness

Jung took the audience through the United States' response to labour imported from Asia and to Asian immigration generally. If you don't know about the Chinese Exclusion Act -- or in Canada, the misnamed Chinese Immigration Act -- you should read up.

Through a critical engagement with the past, I came to see the present, my own identity, in a radically different light. I came to understand that the pitting of Black people and Asian people [against each other] has been pivotal to reproducing white supremacy. I also came to see that the exclusion of Asians from the United States was not an exception to or a betrayal of America’s inclusive traditions.

It was, in fact, fundamental to that notion of the American nation, a racial project that equated whiteness and Americanness.

About the "War on Terror," Jung noted wryly,
That a Korean American, John Yoo, authored the Bush Administration's infamous "Torture Memo" sanctioning brutal tactics against "unlawful combatants" was horribly embarrassing and utterly predictable. Bush liked to appoint persons of color—remember Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Alberto Gonzales?—to do his dirty work. That was multiculturalism at work.

Jung noted, as all Americans should, that "the most insidious aspect of the US history I learned in high school was the absence of the US empire and Indigenous peoples." 

During the height of the Philippine-American War in 1901, for instance, the US Philippine Commission issued the Sedition Act, which made it "unlawful for any person to advocate orally or by writing or printing or like methods, the independence of the Philippine Islands or their separation from the United States whether by peaceable or forcible means."

The US military, full of veterans of Indian wars in North America, waged a genocidal war in the Philippines to secure the US empire. But Filipinos continued to mobilize against the US empire, organizing anticolonial movements that the US state attempted to monitor, criminalize, and repress.

By framing peoples in and from Asia as racialized and radicalized subjects of the US empire, not as immigrants aspiring to become Americans, my recent book suggests the need to frame anti-Asian racism, including racial violence, as quintessentially American, an expression of and a justification for US claims to sovereignty across the Pacific and around the world.

. . . 

Demonized over the last century as "anarchists," "communists," "gooks," and "terrorists," Asians have been cast as "un-American" and "anti-American," those who needed to be killed and contained to protect the racial and colonial order that is the United States of America. 

In that context, insisting on the "Americanness" of Asian Americans can never meaningfully address a deeper history of empire and white supremacy.

In the same building where this speech was being given, there was an exhibit called "Resilience -- a Sansei Sense of Legacy," art created by Japanese American artists, exploring the wounds their families survived after being rounded up and forced into concentration camps, and all their possessions, including homes and stores, stolen.

A framework for history

Underlying Jung's story was the idea that theory matters. The theoretical framework we use to see history informs how we engage with history, how we pass on stories. Is America a land of opportunity, a nation of immigrants? Is it an global empire that has slaughtered and terrorized people around the globe? Answers to these questions inform the stories we tell.

Americans aren't the only myth-makers. Many of the most progressive-minded Canadians subscribe to a brand of Canadian exceptionalism every bit as false as the American mythology. Canada the peaceful nation, the healthy nation, the benign nation of goodwill, diversity, and inclusion. All Canadians need to do is look across the country's southern border to confirm that this is true. 

But, as I'm so fond of saying, "better than the United States" is a very low bar. Yes, Canada has universal health insurance, and was one of the first countries to adopt marriage equality.  We enjoy more reproductive freedom, and the country is more secular than that US. 

Canada also has the tar sands, mining behemoths that pillage land and people around the globe, The Indian Act, and First Nations reserves where residents don't even have clean drinking water. Canada keeps its statistics on infant mortality and health outcomes looking beautiful because these statistics don't include Indigenous people! 

We must view history with the blinders fully off, one that looks at actions, not rhetoric. We must question everything. JFK as the civil-rights president is as ludicrous as Canada the global peacekeeper.

Think collectively

Fittingly for a conference on labour history, Jung's address included something about his employer, a university, and how employers mimic the larger culture. 

The university president gave a speech meant to address local and national racism, sexism, and homophobia, and to rally the community to respond. They listed three steps, three things we can all do, to fight hate. 

One, call out the bigots. Don't ignore them. 

Two, have some multicultural contact in your lives. 

And three, look into your own heart and mind, and combat the biases and prejudices you yourself carry. (They elaborated eloquently on each one.)

These are all fine things to do, and hopefully everyone reading this is doing all three. But, Jung pointed out, these are all individual responses to a systemic problem.

[The] speech, in many ways, captures our current moment: systemic racism is everywhere, but we're told that the solution is for individuals to become educated and color blind.

Rather than addressing the systemic roots of white supremacy and heterosexism, [the speaker] ends up personalizing everything. Getting over "prejudice" was the key to ending our problems.

The inadequacy of individual responses to a systemic problem also speaks to the ongoing project that some of us in Canada are engaged in: decolonizing. I often see decolonizing as futile and hopeless, as colonialism is baked in to the very foundations of every institution. But I also see it as necessary and vital. This is both Beckett -- You must go on. I can't go on. I'll go on. -- and Gandhi -- Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.


* I just went back to the older references to the conference and deleted the u in labour.


rip robbie robertson

The news that Robbie Robertson died hit me hard. Although he's not the last surviving member of The Band (Garth Hudson recently turned 86), he was my last surviving deep connection to music that is so close to my heart. 

I rarely feel a famous person's death in a personal way. Usually I think that's sad or what a shame, they were so young or I know they were sick for a long time. Thoughts, not feelings. I could compare this to how I feel when an acquaintance I only know briefly loses a family member. It's sad, and I care, but I'm not affected emotionally. 

Once in a while, I can honestly say that the death of a famous person has brought me grief. This was one of those times. 

It also makes me think of times like this -- which will be much worse, much deeper -- that lie ahead. The deaths of a generation of musicians who had huge cultural impacts has already started. A few whose deaths I will genuinely grieve are on the horizon.

To put down in pixels what Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, The Band, and "The Last Waltz" have meant to me through the years somehow reduces it to cliche. The film, especially, weaves its way through my life, from skipping school to see it at Radio City Music Hall (twice!) in 1978, to introducing Allan to it in the 1980s, when it quickly became a touchstone of a shared love, to first buying the soundtrack on LP and then on DVD. I know every frame of that movie, every moment. I've obsessed on every shot and every note.

I don't even want to attempt to explain this. Anything I could write would be a cheap imitation, a fifth-generation photocopy, a lifeless cliche. It would reduce something profound into mere words. 

I love to read and think about art -- books, film, paintings, architecture, all of it. But at the same time, all my life I've shied away from too much analysis, too much intellectualizing, about the art that means the most to me. I experience the art that I love best in a place that has no words.*

Robbie's music brought great joy to my life, and also meaning. I love that later in life, he openly embraced his Indigenous heritage. He was a great-looking man at every age. And his music, well, it will always be alive for me.

There are some famous people who, even though you've never met them (or if you did, you were a handshake or an autograph among millions), you truly feel they are part of your life. Almost like an extended family, in that their presence feels so real to you. Robbie Robertson was one of those people for me.

* I recently read two books that explore, among other things, how art makes us feel: The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.


re-setting expectations: let's all stop apologizing for not being instantly available all the time

Long ago, when emailing first became widely used, I had several long-distance friendships that were conducted entirely by email. I noticed that almost every email began the same way: "Sorry I haven't written in so long..." or "Sorry I've been out of touch..." or something similar. That's when I instituted The Rule.

The Rule states: We write when we can, and we never apologize for how long it's been. Over the years and decades, I've shared The Rule with many friends. I use it still.

We need The Rule now more than ever. But we need to expand it, and tailor it to fit all aspects of our lives -- work, personal, and everything in between.

I'm not writing this because over-apologizing is a pet peeve (although it is). I'm writing this because immediacy is an issue of health and well-being.

Whatever happened to asynchronicity?

Email is asynchronous. Unlike a phone or video call, where all parties must be present at the same time, you write an email when you're available, and the recipient reads and replies when they're available. That's the beauty of email, and the best reason to use it.

It seems that most people have lost touch with this concept.

Depending on the content of any given email, an appropriate time to reply may be later the same day, or the following day, or several days or even weeks away. If the sender needs an answer immediately, they should call, or perhaps put "urgent" or "reply requested asap" in the subject line. Other than that, there should be no pressure to reply in the moment or the hour.

Yet my work inbox is filled with emails in which the sender apologizes for a "delay" of a day or two, or sometimes hours!

Of course, sometimes an apology is called for. Sometimes we've overlooked a deadline, or lost track of an email, inconveniencing someone or causing confusion, and we want to acknowledge that. So sure, occasionally apologies may be fitting. 

But most of the time, when someone apologizes for a delay, there is no delay. And every time we do this, every time we apologize for replying the following day or a few days later, we imply -- and we perpetuate the notion -- that we should all reply to email immediately.

These apologies create an expectation. They create urgency that usually doesn't exist.

Let's take personal responsibility for being less responsible

Our current world places huge demands on our lives. 

Work, family, friends, social media,  activism or volunteering, news stories that are updated in real time. Many people have more than one job. Many people work in industries where they are expected to be always available. And far too many fields have drifted to the must-be-always-available model when that kind of urgency is actually not necessary. 

And there are so many channels of communication! Sometimes I know I need to respond to someone and can't remember where I saw their message. Work email? Teams chat? Text on work phone? Text on personal phone? Personal email? Facebook message (from someone who doesn't know or remember that I don't use Messenger)? Chat in a Zoom or Teams meeting? Or was that project that's using Slack, or is it Basecamp? I'm guessing I'm not the only person this happens to. 

There are always multiple demands pulling us in multiple directions. And the more we make ourselves always available, the more we feed expectations that we must be always available. Without even being fully aware of it, we may assume that if everyone else is always available, and we're not, we may appear absent, or uncaring -- or left behind. Maybe it will reflect on us poorly at work. Maybe it's FOMO. How many of our friends answer a group email or text an hour later, and apologize for being "late to the party"? 

Many of us struggle with focus and live with a constant nagging feeling of being always "behind". And being always available means we are constantly interrupting ourselves. 

We're working on project A, then we answer a text from person B, an email from projects C and D, then back to A, then more interruptions from projects S, T, and V, back to A, then a text reply from B. Person G sends a video, and we click. We scroll Facebook for a while, thinking we're taking a mental break, when in reality, we're just further fracturing our focus. What happened to project A, where was I? We feel frazzled, harried. We answer emails without fully reading and digesting them. We apologize to everyone. And on it goes. 

At the end of the day, we know we were busy, but wonder if we actually accomplished anything.

Helpful hints

There's no shortage of articles online about this, from empty clickbait to thoughtful books such as Cal Newport's Deep Work. (I wrote about Newport's book Digital Minimalism here.) All the writers analyze the same phenomenon and offer practical advice to slow and ultimately stop this runaway treadmill. But in the end, we are the only ones who can stop it in our own lives.

I have little scripts, prepackaged lines I can use to undermine the expectations of immediacy.

While "no is a complete sentence" can be very useful, in most work environments, we are expected to flesh that out a bit. Here are some responses I employ on a regular basis.

"This interests me, but my plate is full right now. Could I touch base with you in September?"

"What's your timeline for this? I can work on it towards the end of next week. If you need it sooner, I will have to pass."

"I can help you with that. Is it urgent? If not, can we talk tomorrow morning?"

"My plate is completely full right now. If this is a priority, I'll need some direction on what to put aside."

"I'd love to, but I'm afraid I don't have time / mental space / bandwidth right now."

Unless there is actual urgency, I use these replies no sooner than the day after I receive an email.

This doesn't mean I work solidly for hours without interruption! Far from it. A big part of my job is supporting staff, so I am constantly being interrupted. When colleagues call (as opposed to emailing) there is usually a good reason, and I must answer. Those are necessary interruptions, and they are frequent. That's why cutting down on the unnecessary interruptions is so important.

Is it urgent? Pick up the phone. If it's emailed, take some time.

The most important thing we can do in many situations is not respond immediately

Leave the email in your inbox. Let it sit there for a day, or two days, or a week, depending on the context. 

If, realistically, it may be a long time before you can deal with a particular email you can always use something like this.

Thanks for your email. Just wanted to let you know I've received your message, and will reply when I can.

Then continue doing what you were doing. And continue doing that as the next email comes in, and the next, and the next. 

If you can find a way to work without seeing email notifications, that's the best method of all, then you can set a daily time to go through your emails. Or three daily times. Or whatever works for you. But stop answering immediately and stop apologizing when you don't.

Fuck Inbox Zero

"Inbox Zero" -- keeping your inbox empty or almost empty every day -- is (a) a myth, (b) incredibly inefficient, and (c) totally unnecessary. If I answered every email as it arrived, I would spend my entire day answering emails and never get anything else done. Even Merlin Mann, the person credited with coining the expression "inbox zero", admits that it's no longer viable.

The "productivity experts" at Superhuman advise that every email can be dealt with in one of four ways -- delete, delegate, defer, or do. Hey, doesn't defer mean letting it wait? But even that triage takes time, and to what end? Perhaps there's a reason this "advice" (translation: product marketing) comes from something called Superhuman. We are human. We don't have to be super human.

Signature lines may help 

A number of people I know now include expectation re-setting in their signature lines. They have added things like:

I will answer your email in 24-48 hours. If your matter is urgent, please call.

Please note I work part-time and it may take some time to respond. Thank you for your patience.

I've seen people including compassionate responses to other people's self-expectations. These are all about returning to asynchronicity.

If you have received an email from me outside of your normal business hours, please feel no pressure to read or respond until you are working.

I work flexibly and may send emails outside normal working hours. Your immediate response is not expected. Please do not feel any pressure to respond outside of your own work schedule.

Signature blocks may be like signs: no one reads them. But it's worth a try.

I blame texting

I think the shift from email to texting (and other forms of instant messaging) is partly to blame for this perceived urgency. This drift from one technology to another is something I've yielded to out of necessity. But I really, really dislike it.

For one thing, I am a very fast keyboard typist, and using all my ergonomic equipment, I find typing on a keyboard infinitely easier than onscreen typing.

But beyond that, the reason I prefer email is the perceived immediacy of texting. When we receive text messages, we feel compelled to interrupt whatever we're doing to respond. We might decline a phone call and let an email sit, but a text seems to get answered immediately or not at all.

I get it. Email is work-related, news from organizations, customer service replies, and other business-y things. Text is more personal. And for quick questions, brief hellos, and "I'm running late," immediacy is important. But the immediacy of texting has amped up the sense of immediacy for everything else in our lives.

Be the change

We can each do our part in re-setting the expectation of immediacy. Two simple rules could go a long way.

1. Don't reply immediately. Let the email sit in your inbox, at least for one day.

2. When you do reply, don't apologize.


visiting hōkūle'a in port hardy

Last week, I blogged about the upcoming visit of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle'a. I was concerned that I might miss their Port Hardy stop, but as it turned out, they were due here much sooner than I realized. Hōkūle'a landed in Port Hardy on July 30, and on July 31 the crew hosted an open house and meet-and-greet. There was a lot of local excitement about this event. 

Allan and I spent about an hour on the boat, listening to crew members talk about their journey, the boat, and Polynesian voyaging. It was an amazing opportunity and a wonderful experience.

We were disappointed not to see the sails unfurled. The boat was leaving the following day, but going only to Alert Bay, a very short trip from Port Hardy, so they didn't have to leave very early in the morning. We returned the day of their departure -- twice -- hoping to see the sails unfurled, but no joy. This image of the boat in full sail is from the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The rest of the photos are ours, courtesy of Allan.

As we walked down Port Hardy's Seagate Pier, the first thing we noticed is how tiny the boat is! Standing on the boat, you could feel it was very solid. It didn't move around under your feet the way an ordinary canoe or a tiny sailboat does. At the same time, it was mind-boggling to think that folks have sailed on the open ocean in this craft. 

The majority of the Moananuiākea Journey is coastal, but in 1976 Polynesian voyagers sailed from Hawai'i to Tahiti on Hōkūle'a. The Hōkūle'a has also travelled to Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island), one of the most remote places on Earth. In doing so, the PVS disproved "drift theory," one of many anthropology ideas that viewed Indigenous people as helpless objects of the environment, rather than civilizations that constructed their worlds, as all civilizations do. (See also: aliens building the Pyramids and the Nasca Lines.) Part of the Moananuiākea journey will also be in open ocean.

The Hōkūle'a was constructed without nails or metal of any kind. It was built entirely by lashing ropes. Different ancient Polynesian peoples used different styles of lashing; the lashing on Hōkūle'a is a combination of different styles. More information about Hōkūle'a can be found here, and there's a diagram showing all of its parts here.

The boat was built with Sitka Spruce from Alaska. In Hawai'i there is a lack of trees that are large enough and sturdy enough to be used for a sea-voyaging canoe, the scarcity caused by deforestation, soil erosion, and other factors, mostly human-caused. There is also a legend about Sitka Spruce from Alaska floating down to Hawai'i, so building with wood from Alaska was also culturally appropriate.

The boat's kitchen consists of two burners, that hide or pop out as needed. The crew eats mainly canned and dried food -- their chef performing magic to produce taste, variety and nutrition. The crew also fishes, and sometimes can purchase fresh fruit or eggs in a port. There is no refrigeration on board, so if they catch a lot of fish, it can be an issue! They oil eggs to make them stay fresher longer.

How does the crew go to the bathroom? Everyone wants to know! They strap themselves into a harness and hang off the side of the boat. And they use a buddy system for safety. As our guide said, "If you go overboard, you're like a coconut bobbing in the ocean."

The crew sleeps in shifts, in little hidey-holes.

Visitors took turns moving the huge rudder.

I was surprised to learn that the crew changes out every few weeks. Folks fly back to Hawai'i from wherever they are, and fresh crew members fly in to join the voyage. The navigators, with their more specialized knowledge, change much less frequently.

The Hōkūle'a is piloted almost entirely by traditional methods -- celestial navigation (i.e., using stars, especially the Sun), currents, types of waves, the colour of the water, bird sightings, and other ancient methods. An escort boat with GPS travels with them. There's great info about Polynesian wayfinding here on Hōkūle'a website

When PVS was preparing for the 1976 Hawai'i-to-Tahiti expedition, celestial navigation had almost completely died out. There was only one person in the world who still possessed this knowledge, a Micronesian man named Mau Piailug. From Wikipedia:

Mau's Carolinian navigation system, which relies on navigational clues using the Sun and stars, winds and clouds, seas and swells, and birds and fish, was acquired through rote learning passed down through teachings in the oral tradition. He earned the title of master navigator (palu) by the age of eighteen, around the time the first American missionaries arrived in Satawal.
As he neared middle age, Mau grew concerned that the practice of navigation in Satawal would disappear as his people became acculturated to Western values. In the hope that the navigational tradition would be preserved for future generations, Mau shared his knowledge with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS). With Mau's help, PVS used experimental archaeology to recreate and test lost Hawaiian navigational techniques on the Hōkūleʻa, a modern reconstruction of a double-hulled Hawaiian voyaging canoe.

Mau Pilau taught Polynesian wayfinding to Nainoa Thompson, now the long-time president of PVS. Thompson has navigated both the Hōkūleʻa and its sister canoe, the Hawaiʻiloa, from Hawaiʻi to other Polynesian island nations without using western instruments. He voyaged from Hawai'i to Tahiti solo in 1980.

More about Mau Pilau from Wikipedia.

The successful, non-instrument sailing of Hōkūleʻa to Tahiti in 1976 proved the efficacy of Mau's navigational system to the world. To academia, Mau's achievement provided evidence for intentional two-way voyaging throughout Oceania, supporting a hypothesis that explained the Asiatic origin of Polynesians.
The success of the Micronesian-Polynesian cultural exchange, symbolized by Hōkūleʻa, had an impact throughout the Pacific. It contributed to the emergence of the second Hawaiian cultural renaissance and to a revival of Polynesian navigation and canoe building in Hawaii, New Zealand, Rarotonga and Tahiti. It also sparked interest in traditional wayfinding on Mau's home island of Satawal. Later in life, Mau was respectfully known as a grandmaster navigator, and he was called "Papa Mau" by his friends with great reverence and affection. He received an honorary degree from the University of Hawaii, and he was honored by the Smithsonian Institution and the Bishop Museum for his contributions to maritime history. Mau's life and work was explored in several books and documentary films, and his legacy continues to be remembered and celebrated by the indigenous peoples of Oceania.

The principal mission of the Polynesian Voyaging Society is education, keeping the skills and their people's history alive.

This short video, featuring Nainoa Thompson, has some beautiful footage of Hōkūle'a on the sea.

This video, from local news in Hawai'i, talks about Polynesian Wayfinding.

This slightly longer video won't allow embeds, but is a fascinating 10 minutes on the ancient Polynesian voyagers, the greatest navigators of the ancient world: The Art of Tautai.

For more information, my best search was "polynesian voyaging society hawaii tv". Tons of great stuff.

On Hōkūle'a, the Hawaiian crew were in a bit of shock at the cool, wet weather of coastal BC.  They said that some days they'd be wearing full rain gear as if expecting a hurricane, and their local hosts would show up in t-shirts, barely registering that it was raining. 

They were also taken aback by how cold the water is. In Hawai'i, they said, they can swim or surf in the ocean any time of day, even at night, and can stay in the water for hours without a wetsuit. They were also unaccustomed to navigating in fog and relied on their escort boat for safety. 

Members of the crew were identifiable by their purple tees. They were so friendly and welcoming. It was an honour to connect with them.

If you enjoy this, Hōkūle'a's website has a great capsule history of the boat's journeys, including the story of a sailor who paddled off on his surfboard during a storm, saving the ship's crew, and losing his life in the process. There are also beautiful old photographs of the navigators who rediscovered this ancient art.