Crew Profile

Crew Blog | Shawn Kanaʻiaupuni: A Season of Gratitude

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By Crewmember Shawn Kanaʻiaupuni

It’s almost impossible to imagine anything more captivating than the turquoise hues and shining ocean waves lapping up to the white sand backed by majestic green cliffs of the Waiʻanae mountain range stretching all the way through Kaʻena Point. At this time of year, you can see all the way to the bottom of the bay, it is mesmerizing, clear and sparkling in the sunshine. If anything, the brilliance of the kai could only be surpassed by the bright faces and smiles of keiki and ʻopio as they excitedly boarded Hōkūleʻa this week at Pokaʻi Bay, many for the first time in their young lives.

Amidst this amazing natural beauty, Hōkūleʻa spent nearly 15 days at Pokaʻi Bay, welcomed by all elevent schools of the Waiʻanae complex area and others in Central and Ewa region, in addition to hundreds of ʻohana and malihini in the community.

The canoe comes alive as a floating classroom, with learning opportunities for young and old alike. All last week, crew and community volunteers enjoyed the curiosity and questions of students, parents, and kumu from Waiʻanae Intermediate, Leihoku Elementary, Waiʻanae High, Kamaile, and many more schools. They ask about eating, cooking, sleeping, sailing, catching fish, navigating, falling overboard, and yes, they love the infamous tour of our five star bathroom facility located on the 8 inch catwalk.

On this day the sun rose bright in the blue sky to the happy faces of preschoolers, makua, and kumu from Kamehameha Schools and others that joined us throughout the day.

After teaching several hundred students to steer and learn about the waʻa, each day the crew has been treated to amazing meals hosted with love by community ʻohana. The respect and pride in caring for their waʻa and the crew is almost tangible, you can feel it – and can I just say, the food has been soooooo amazing, onolicious!

In the big scheme of things, the connections Hōkūleʻa has created from Germany to South Africa, Cuba and throughout the Pacific are each so critical and vast in inspiring the sea-change we all need to protect our precious earth and oceans. But when it comes right down to it, the most meaningful, special times that fill your naʻau are those spent with family and community, and the aloha we share right here at home in ka pae ʻāina Hawaiʻi. Mahalo piha iā ʻoukou to our entire Waiʻanae ʻohana.

Photos © Shawn Malia Kanaʻiaupuni


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