Crew Profile: Saki Uchida

“My name is Saki Uchida. I’m from Yokosuka Haema, Japan, and I volunteer for PVS.”

“I didn’t really know about Hōkūleʻa until 2007, and now I’m here. I decide to come here, I just know that if I don’t come here, I know that I’m going to regret it. I didn’t just want to lose the chance that could change my life,” said Hikianalia crewmember Saki Uchida.

“When we first met Saki back in 2009, she knew two words of English – hi and sorry. Nainoa told me and Haunani, ʻThis is Saki, she’s from Japan, she wants to learn navigation,'” said Jason Patterson, an apprentice navigator on Hōkūleʻa.

“So I learned to watch people, how they work on the canoe. I just watch really carefully and how they move, and I try to follow them,” said Saki.

“Once we got to know her, we saw what a great person she was and how nice and caring she was. So it was just easy after that to just become good friends,” said apprentice navigator Haunani Kane.

Her newfound family and passion is what inspired Saki to grow as an individual and as a valued crewmember for the Worldwide Voyage.

“I think one of the amazing things about Saki is she learns and she catches on super quickly,” said Haunani.

“I went to HCC (Honolulu Community College) and went into the boat repair, small fabrication and boat repair program in METC (Marine Education Training Center). I thought that’s really good for my voyaging skill too, so I know how to fix the canoe and how to build the canoe,” said Saki.

“She’s just one of those people that when she sets her mind to it, she’ll get it done. She’s also really dependable. I think she’s probably put in close to the most hours out of anyone in dry dock. Without her, the canoe wouldn’t be nearly as ready as it is,” said Haunani.

Saki was selected as one of the apprentice navigators onboard Hikianalia on the first international leg of the Worldwide Voyage. And while the entire voyage is a dream come true, there is doubt that the defining moment was when Saki was the first onboard Hikianalia to sight land outside of Tahiti after being out on the open ocean for more than two weeks. After completing her 2,500 mile voyage to Tahiti, Saki continued her inspiring journey as a crewmember through French Polynesia, Samoa, and now Aotearoa.

“I just decide, and then I just do it. I don’t really get scared, especially on the canoe. I miss my home. But right now, what I want to do is not in Japan, So, I’m really happy and I think I’m really lucky because my family is really supportive. They are happy that I am doing what I like to do,” said Saki.

Continue to follow the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage by visiting us online and joining our global movement towards a more sustainable Island Earth.

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Update | October 13, 2014

Aloha mai kākou! Eia nō mākou ma Kāmoa nei, ke kakali nei i ka makani maikaʻi e holo ai i Vavaʻu ma Tonga. I kēia manawa, mai ka hema mai ka makani, a i laila ana no mākou i kēia waʻa. No laila, ʻaʻole hiki ke hele i kēlā ala. ʻO ke ala e hele ai ʻo ia nō ʻo Nalani Malanai, ʻo ia hoʻi ʻo ka hema, hema komohana. A inā ma laila ana ka waʻa, ma laila ka makani, ʻaʻole hiki ka waʻa ke holo. No laila, eia nō ke noho nei, ke kakali nei ka makani maikaʻi e holo aku ai i laila. A i kēia manawa, ke noʻonoʻo nei mākou ma ka Pōʻakolu paha o ke ahiahi o ka Pōʻakolu a ma ke kakahiaka o ka Pōʻahā paha e holo ai i laila. Haʻalele iā Pago Pago nei a i laila nō. No laila, mahalo ka hāhai ʻana mākou a hoʻomau i ka nānā ʻana mai, ke kākoʻo ʻana mai i ka hoʻouna i ke aloha iā mākou a me ka manaʻo maikaʻi e hele mai ka makani maikaʻi mai e holo aku ai i ka waʻa i laila.

Thank you for following us here on, continue to follow us. We are still here in Pago Pago, American Samoa waiting for favorable winds to go down to Vavaʻu in Tonga. Our course to get there is 318 miles south of west. So that’s Nalani8 Malanai, which is south of southwest. And just happens that’s where the wind is coming from. It’s coming from the south. So we can’t sail directly upwind. We’d have to take long tacks to get there. And since we don’t want to do that, we’re waiting for favorable wind. We’re expecting the winds to fill in about Wednesday afternoon or early  Thursday morning. So that is when we are looking at our departure onto Vavaʻu. So continue to follow us and send us your aloha and positive thoughts and energies so that the winds change, and we can get on our way down to Vavaʻu and continue onto Aotearoa (New Zealand).

No nā kūmole a ʻikepili no ka Huakaʻi Holo Puni Honua, ʻo Mālama Honua, ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi!

Hangout | Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, 5th Grade

Through Google Hangouts, Hikianalia crewmembers Brad Wong and Ryan Hanohano talks to the 5th grade class at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama about their journey from Apia, Samoa to Olohega (Swains Island).

Through Google Hangouts On Air, we are able to bring classrooms from around the globe with us on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. Together we are sharing experiences, and inspiring communities everywhere to navigate towards positive change for all. Visit the Canoe to Classroom page on our website to find out more.

Molokaʻi Kulāia

By ʻOiwi TV

Known for its close-knit and welcoming ʻohana, Molokaʻi now hosts many world-renowned water sports and canoe races to Oʻahu. From Molokaʻi Hoe and Nā Wāhine o ke Kai, the number of events has grown to at least ten in recent years, and Molokaʻi is doing their part to keep these relationships strong.

“People come from all over, and I like see that! It’s really, really exciting,” said Molokaʻi community member Merv Dudoit.

“I think we’ve embraced the meaning of ʻohana and what it means to be Hawaiian and the whole cultural thing. It’s all about aloha,” said Rosie Lum, director of the Nā Wahine o ke Kai outrigger canoe race.

Aloha ʻāina took them back to a celebration that brought people together on Molokaʻi during the races, a festival known as Kulāia that was once held at Haleolono. Now held in the heart of Kaunakakai, the event brought together Molokaʻi and all ʻohana waʻa, including the Polynesian Voyaging Society represented by Molokaʻi crewmembers who were involved with Hōkūleʻa in the past, and those who will be sailing on the Worldwide Voyage.

“I think itʻs a wonderful family event. And how do we support all of our paddlers and those that are sailing around the world. My son is one of the voyagers. Itʻs such a wonderful thing. A wonderful turn out for Molokaʻi this evening to have everyone come back and reminisce again remember when, if you look thereʻs still many of the old canoe paddlers that are still here,” said Molokaʻi resident Julia Hoe.

“This kind, we always had it at Haleolono. Haleolono was the best place. you know. It had all the music, the dancers, and the king and queen was down there too along with all the paddlers camped at the beach, which was really nice,” said Uncle Merv.

“Although it’s a little different, it’s not down at Haleolono and campsites going from one tent to the next, the feel is awesome.” said Lori-Lei Rawlins of the Kulāia Working Committee.

“So I think this is such a great event for Molokaʻi to have all of this wonderful entertainment come up in celebration. Kawika Kahiapo, Raiatea coming back home celebrating this whole event,” said Aunty Julia.

“It’s really an honor for me to be a part of this because I get to say you know I was a part of bringing back this celebration and how paddling is supposed to be. It’s not just a sport, but it’s really more than that. It’s a part of the people and of course community,”said well known musician Raiatea Helm.

“Mahalo to everyone, mahalo to all those who came and sponsored us, who came and helped us, We can have a vision, we can organize it, but definitely we can’t do this by ourselves. So it’s a community effort for our community, for those who come and visit us, and hopefully they’re taking away the aloha that we wanted to share,” said Lori-Lei.

How do you mālama honua (care for our Island Earth)? This is the question we ask when we arrive in each port, where crewmembers meet and interact with local communities. The resulting “Stories of Place” highlight local solutions that can be applied to global problems. We invite you to gather solutions from your community and share your Story of Place with us!

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Together Through the Weather

Although the crews were blessed to visit some of the most picturesque islands in the world, they also trained for harsh conditions at sea.

“Our way to Rarotonga was pretty exciting. Early on as we felt Bora Bora, we had some pretty rough seas. I think there was maybe 18 hours of close to 15 mile per hour winds. Seas were 5-6 meters, we had rain, and it was wet and cold,” said Hikianalia crewmember Archie Kalepa.

“Everybody was all hands on deck. It was nice seeing everyone rise to the occasion as far as being in those types of conditions, and dealing with it as a crew for the weather being as rough as it as. It was really nice to see everyone work together and do a great job,” said Archie.

In the end, the canoes made it safely into Rarotonga, having experienced one of the more trying tests on the open ocean.

Continue to follow the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage by visiting us online and joining our global movement towards a more sustainable Island Earth.

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Blog | Archie Kalepa: Retracing Ancestral Connections

This is Archie Kalepa with something to share regarding events that took place over the past week and half.

Tahaa is a very special place in Tahiti and all Polynesian because a great navigator named Hilo was born here. He may have been one of the Polynesians, if not the first, to navigate to Hawai’i and back to Tahiti.

While we were in Tahaa the elders took us to the place where Hilo was born and lived during his youth; they told us stories about him and his mana. The canoes and crews have paid their respects to Tahaa and its people, as a rite of passage.

Like so many of the places we visited in these beautiful islands of Tahiti, we just stayed one night on Tahaa, then sailed to Bora Bora the next day to get supplies and resupply our water.

Our next stop was a small island called Maupiti about twenty-six miles from Bora Bora. There is only one small pass through the reef to the island, and because there is only one, it can be somewhat difficult to get in and out, because the water entering and leaving the lagoon can only flow through this one pass, causing a strong current. So local knowledge is important when coming to the island or leaving.

Maupiti has a historical connection to Hawai’i and the Hawaiians: it is said that Chief Liholiho came to Maupiti and had a daughter (more research for our people). We visited a heiau and placed a navigation rock there. It was pretty awesome as the entire village guided all the crew members to this place of worship.

After spending a few nights on Maupiti, we became connected to the people of this little island. Even the mayor of Maupiti spent a night on the canoe and called the whole village to do their stone fishing (kind of like the hukilau in the old days of Hawai’i).

That day was a sight to see; the entire village, young and old, got involved, from throwing the stones in the water to pulling the coconut leaves hukilau style. Watching from the side, I realized how blessed a community it is. We didn’t catch many fish but the fishing had a bigger meaning, showing that the whole community can work together. It was hard leaving this beautiful island of Maupiti but we had to continue the Mālama Honua journey, just as we were reminded of what Malama Mālama means.

Kālepa Baybayan, our captain and pwo navigator is in my eyes very wise and smart, very tactical in decision-making and speaks very clearly to others; he is my first cousin and it has been a great pleasure sailing under him, and very reassuring in the last few days, as we experienced bad weather. He was of the calmest mind, constantly watching the weather and letting us all know we are sailing in good hands, not by words, but by his actions. He is someone I would trust with my life on this little canoe in this great big ocean.

We have since come upon calmer seas as we approach Rarotonga.

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