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Crew Blog | Michi Wong: Coming Home to Open Arms

Crew Blog by Michi Wong

Warm is the embrace of the Lānaʻi ʻOhana. We set sail on Sunday afternoon and arrived at Mānele Bay in the dark of early morn. They were there at dock to meet us a 1:30 a.m. Beginning with oli, honi, ti leaf lei, and a steaming hot bowl of sabao, we were immersed in Lānaʻi’s hospitality. From sun up to moon rise, our days were full; of canoe tours, star compass talks, knot tying instruction, rounds of iʻe stick games; of meals shared, eggs, spam, Portuguese sausage and rice, poi, venison, tripe stew, palusami, ube esayñada; of evenings of ʻolelo, families gathered, kanikapila, laughter and aloha.

Uncle Sol, Solomon Kahoʻohalahala, was our kumu and navigator. He gifted us with ʻolelo of Puʻu Pehe, where sweethearts shared an ill fated love, of Ahulapueo, where hula dancers walk on water, and of Kaunolū, where the ahu puaʻa spanned the breadth of the island, shore to shore. The sound of his kālaʻau hitting together pierced the night, his chant, Maunalei, told of ʻaha kea trees once so plentiful that the ʻaha kea blanketed the slopes and valleys with waxy leaves shimmering in the sun and wind.

Uncle Sol drove us down the winding, bumpy, dusty, unpaved red dirt road to Lelekawa Kahekili Kahililani, where sea cliffs loom 1,000 feet above the sea, where the water is deep and the aku and ahi run. We skittishly peered over the ledge where Hawaiians dove from the heights into the blue sea and their spirits soared. We cast our gaze across the horizon clear to the East and West, and followed the rocky point, a direction finder, south to Tahiti. Uncle Sol spoke softly of the uʻa ʻili, the light rain a blessing on the morning of their beloved grandmother Kumu Irene’s passing. She was 102 years old.

This was the last leg of the Mahalo, Hawaiʻi Sail, the last sail of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, destination home. Captain Archie Kalepa expressed our deep gratitude to the families of Lānaʻi, for sharing their island home, manaʻo and culture, and for welcoming Hōkūleʻa and her crew with open arms. He thanked them for bringing their keiki. Every child of Lānaʻi came to touch Hōkūleʻa, feel the wind, watch the stars lighting the sky and sea.

More photos of Hōkūleʻa crewmembers’ outreach on Lanaʻi: Mahalo Mariah Hugho for the photos

Photos of Hōkūleʻa’s sail to Lanaʻi courtesy of crewmember Mark Amundson

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