Written by Nakua & Kaʻai
These past 2 days Hōkūle'a stands out at the Newport Yacht Clup and Marina for some odd reason. I don't know if it's because she's docked in the middle of so many high rises. There are her usual differences; her sails are brown, she has a crab claw rig, she has yards of rope, and most of the crew are volunteers, like how Naʻalehu mentioned before, the waʻa doesn't belong to only one person (possible link to his blog). The difference I find most interesting is her openness.
She has no windows to tint and no doors to shut people out. She has no space to leave anyone out of a group. Everyone around us, probably from the 20th floor in the building next to us can see when we're taking a nap, cooking dinner, or washing dishes. Activities that complete strangers don’t normally get to see in a home on land. Maybe it gives a glimpse, or even forces people to see how to live like a family, even though we come from far away. Hōkūleʻa is a honua, a place that encourages community.
Why is it that we don't know our neighbors anymore? That we don't interact with people who we probably pass on our way to work everyday? If we all just knew our neighbors, this world would be a better place. This sense of community has changed since my parents childhood days. However, when we sail there are also many people who know, who have been in our shoes. In every port they come offering rides to get groceries or directions to the nearest laundromat and coffee; simple pleasures that make a huge difference.
The beautiful thing about this canoe is the feeling you get when you’re blessed with her presence. To our people Hōkūle’a is a living being, a mother figure to many. The canoe has a way of grabbing the attention of mariners and yachting communities everywhere who stop in awe because they have no idea that voyaging on a traditional double-hulled canoe still exists. Although she is just a boat to many people from the outside looking in; she has a spiritual kind of mana which lures people in to stare and admire her majestic beauty.
If you see Hōkūle'a, don't be ashamed that you're staring at the canoe; she tends to do that to people, she stands out in a crowd. We're sailing around the world so that people can ask questions; so that others can see how living on the canoe can apply to living on the Earth. He wa’a he moku, he moku he wa’a; A canoe is an island and an island is a canoe. Don’t be afraid to say aloha or smile back. You're part of this voyage even if you've only met Hōkūle'a for the first time.
Hope to see you around the waʻa soon! Check out the live tracking map on hokulea.com and mahalo again for following our journey.
Kumu Kaʻai previously taught at Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy and Hawaiian Studies at Wilson Elementary School to K-5 students.