Crew Blog | Pomai Bertelmann: We are Led by a Great Man
In many ways he is the kaula – the rope that binds, the man who possesses many intuitive skills. He is one of a few who can harness the energies of the ocean, land, and sky and center them all on the deck of the canoe.
We come from a place that has some of the highest peaks on this planet. We just sailed over one of the deepest trenches that this planet has to offer as well. In that, there is a reciprocation that we feel, sense, and carry with us from Pago Pago to Vava’u and Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga. It is profoundly deep to deep. Without even knowing it, we have transformed from a life of daily friendships into that of family for life. Once again, Hōkūleʻa has re-entered us into the watery womb that we once knew, and birthed us out into the world as brothers and sisters. A bond that we will share for the rest of time.
We are led by a great man. There are many thoughts that he owns that we will never know. But the ones that he does let us enterinto are the ones that sustain our life here on the open ocean. His intentions are pure and selfless; his work is seamless in fluidity and articulation. What he demands is commanded by the ease of his voice, not playful but not fearful. Just intentionally easy. Our debriefs of days events are meaningful: complete the cycle, be diligent in your work, keep it light, keep the energy flowing. His love for Hōkūleʻa can be seen as he has led us in quiet confidence to our destination. In many ways he is the kaula – the rope that binds, the man who possesses many intuitive skills. He is one of a few who can harness the energies of the ocean, land, and sky and center them all on the deck of the canoe. He is surrounded by kupuna both seen and unseen whispering in quiet reassurance. His hourly journey to the ihu, the bow of the canoe, is a solitary one. We do not follow. In our minds, it is enough to observe his ritual from afar. Whether he’s communing with the universe or having his own quiet conversations with our Hōkū, it is a dance that is imprinted in our minds in hopes that in time that we each might choose to learn the cadence too.
Birthed out of the darkness,
the child emerges and becomes the light.
Ensnared in a hei played out on the hands of great teachers,
he steps into their world effortlessly and transforms, becoming one of them.
The masters hands have willed into him the gift of sight even in the darkest of nights.
Build and take down.
Give life and take life.
Heal where healing is needed.
Mend where mending is needed.
Grow sustenance and medicine for your people.
Be the light in and through all the shades of obscurity.
The star paths are the map, the waves his companions, the deck of the canoe his home, the wa’a his best friend on this path of life chosen for him.