Saturday, March 12, 2011

Epic session with good company...

Today was probably one of the most epic sessions I've had in a very long time,

One of my very good college friends called me earlier this week asking if I'd be able to travel with her crew, being that she was going to be sailing her canoe "Kanehunamoku" into the area where I live.  Being that this was the first time ever that Kanehunamoku was sailing outside of her Windward O'ahu turf into the area where I live, she felt more comfortable having a "native" (along with my other good friend and fellow "native") of the area to be with her on deck.

Kanehunamoku, along with a number of other Hawaiian canoes are referred to as if they are real people, and rightfully so.  Traditional Hawaiian canoes are a direct link to the people to our of the past, being that that's how we all got here over eons ago.  The art and skill of Hawaiian voyaging was revitalized in the late 1970's with Hokule'a.  Since Hokule'a's renaissance voyage, other Hawaiian canoes or wa'a have been born, including Hawai'i Loa, E Ala, Makali'i and Kanehunamoku just to name a few.  Kanehunamoku, in Hawaiian wa'a genealogy is the 'ohana (family) of Makali'i.  What makes Kanehunamoku extra special is that it is captained by my good friend, who is one of the very few female Native Hawaiian captains in the world, unreal.
Kanehunamoku sailed to Makaha Bay for the memorial services of Uncle Boogie Kalama who had recently passed away.  Uncle Boogie was one of the original crew members of Hokule'a and has since then been an advocate for those Hawaiian canoes that were born thereafter, including Kanehunamoku.  Uncle Boogie was known for his good heart and was one to joke around to lighten the spirits of those he surrounded.  He was a well-respected person by many.  It was for these reasons that my friend felt that it was important for her and her crew to make the sail out on the west side.

So came this morning, I woke my bootay up at 5:30 in the morning to get ready and pick up my other "native" friend.  When we got to Wai'anae Boat Harbor, there was Kanehunamoku sitting there, silhouetted by the early dawn, epic, I tell you. 
So with no seafaring experience what so ever, I helped where I could.  I was tasked with holding one of the lines (to the left in the photo above) when the main post or kia was brought up.  Talk about pressure, lol.  I had to make sure that the kia rose straight up, cuz if it rocked too far to one side as it was coming up, without it lashed as of yet, it could come crashing down and cause some serious damage and a not so good situation.

Besides the two local natives, my friend's crew for the day was made up of her husband, two other adult deck hands and these two high school boys.  I was super super impressed at how "on it" these two boys (along with the rest of the crew for that matter) were.  The crew was in their zone tying lines down and prepping Kanehunamoku for the day ahead.
So Kanehunamoku then booked it over from Wai'anae Boat Harbor to the neighboring Poka'i Bay to meet up with another canoe E Ala, captained by my cousin and another good friend of mine.
Once the opening morning session was complete, both canoes made their voyage over to Makaha Bay, which was a couple of miles away.  This is where I got some killer pics of the West side in its true beauty.
We arrived at Makaha Bay, which is where the memorial for Uncle Boogie took place.  There was some services done on the beach, and while that was being held, the two natives stayed back on deck to watch Kanehunamoku, being that she was anchored in the ocean.  While we watched Kanehunamoku, my friend and I jumped off of the canoe and swam in the pristine crystal clear ocean, oh man, that felt soooooooo good.  After the services were done on the beach, surfers paddlers booked it out into the ocean for the ocean portion of the services.  Everyone came out into the ocean to toss flower petals, flowers and leis in Unce's memory.  That was a really awesome sight.  (If you look in the pic below, the house to the far right is my grandfather's place, yup tsunami zone, lol.)
So after the services were done, Kanehunamoku needed to make it's sail back to Wai'anae Harbor for docking.  My friend asked if I wanted to steer Kanehunamoku, and I was super duper nervous about that, but I went ahead and took on the challenge.  She provided me with a few pointers and then left it to me.  I needed some guidance in the beginning, but after I got the hang of it.  I really got into this unreal zone, looking at the land, looking at the ocean, it's hard to describe, but it was seriously epic.
After the wa'a docked, it was time to take Kanehunamoku apart and prep her for her journey on the road back home.  It really was an awesome day, the crew was super cool and we spent the day talking story, swimming and cracking up.  You gotta love it...

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