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Crew Blog | Kai Hoshijo: Crossing the Kaiwi

Written by Kai Hoshijo

I’ve been close to Kaiwi my whole life growing up around the corner in Niu while benefiting greatly from its patterns. The bending of waves and wind have always been a gateway for my experience growing up and enjoying the ocean but I had never been in the thick of it and not on a waʻa. 

I have nothing to compare my first channel crossing to. It was rough and windy… and while I was tired from recently finishing up my semester, it was electric. Surprisingly as we were getting smacked by waves, there was a sense of enjoyment amongst our crew. We made many adjustments along the way to try to balance our canoe and make moves. 

Amongst those adjustments is also to be in waʻa mode and I’ve come to notice that Hōkūleʻa will easily push you to project like you are a part of the waʻa. as it moves you must feel and adjust with it. Trusting in one another with our captain and navigator, Uncle Nainoa and Tamiko, is a dominating dynamic while underway. Kaiwi showed me that we as a crew are facilitators with Hōkūleʻa. In a sense there’s this freedom yet control when you are in a place like Kaiwi 

In the latter part of the night when I began my watch I could hear the whipping wind and I saw a sky full of stars that I will never forget. The first time in my life where I was able to see and realize that we are surrounded by this sky. It’s always been there but how are we to ensure that experience for others? In terms of sailing we use the stars to understand where we are and where to go and how. But in a sense, this view of Ka Iwi was asking what Lewalani is telling us for methods of care? Ka Iwi reinforced my belief of interconnectedness and lessons embedded in ancestral practice with adaptation. 

One of the most important observations was seeing different parts of the Pae ʻĀina. This helped me to understand home in a different way. The raw power of Hawaiʻi and how these elements collect, brew, and bend. It’s scary but sometimes the things you want the most are the scariest. The raw power makes you feel different and on edge so finding that calm both in yourself, the waʻa, and your crew is a keystone part of my experience.

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