Ua pō ke ao, a ao he Pwo
In celebration of Pwo Navigator Chad Kālepa Baybayan
Livestream on May 6, 2021 | 5:30pm – 9:00pm HST
Chad Kālepa Baybayan was an extraordinary man whose life and actions brought positive and lasting change to people and place. His sudden passing leaves a void that we will all feel for some time. But in his wake and in his honor, we persevere and celebrate all that he means to us.
On behalf of the ʻohana of Kālepa, please join us as we come together to honor him and celebrate his life of learning, teaching, voyaging, exploring and discovery.
Draw your own map, become the mapmaker…the cartographer for your own life.
Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be. Don’t let others define you.
Be responsible for owning your own dream and vision of where you want to arrive at.
Be persistent and relentless in working that sail plan so that you arrive at your destination.
-Chad Kālepa Baybayan
On April 8, 2021, Hawai’i lost a beloved son with the passing of Chad Kālepa Baybayan.
He was a teacher. A student. A deep sea voyager and one of the few individuals in the world to hold the distinction of Pwo Navigator in recognition of Kālepa’s ability to look to the heavens to find his way on the ocean and on the land. He was a person of tremendous ability and achievement, having sailed tens of thousands of miles over many, many years with the Polynesian Voyaging (PVS) and the ‘Ohana Wa’a as both a navigator and a captain.
If you asked him to define himself, Kālepa would put his role as a family man front and center. He was a husband of nearly 4 decades to Audrey Kaide Baybayan. Together they raised three children in Kailua Kona; daughters Pa’anakala Tanaka (Daniel), and Pukanala Llanes (Bradley), and son ʻAukai (Justynne). Kālepa and Audrey were also fully immersed in the lives of their six grandchildren, Laʻakea, Namahana, Kalaeula, Tekauri, Napo?o and Kamani. The family was in Seattle helping to care for one of their moʻopuna when Kālepa passed.
Kālepa was born in 1956 on the island of Oʻahu to the late Llewellyn Baybayan Sr.and Lillian Suter. The family includes brothers Clayton, Lyle, the late Llewellyn Baybayan Jr.,Theodore Suter, sister Ann Marie and stepfather the late Walter Suter.
Many of us came to know Kālepa through the ocean. He was a canoe paddler, one of the first to be involved with the Hawaiian sailing canoe Moʻolele and a year out of high school became a crew member aboard Hōkūleʻa in 1975. He went on to sail on every subsequent major voyage for the next 40 years.
Kālepa’s love of exploration and discovery extended to education. He saw education as a vessel that enabled individuals to reach the destination of their dreams and his own life was proof of that.
While raising his family and working as a ramp agent for United Airlines in Kona, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies at the Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaii Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Fluent in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, Kālepa would go on to earn a masters degree in education from Heritage College.
And, perhaps it was in this role as educator, that Kālepa’s generosity and his deep commitment to the advancement of Hawaiʻi’s and the world’s young people can best be seen. He literally shared his knowledge around the world, inspiring young women and men to navigate their own lives, using education as their canoes. In recognition of his passion and his expertise, Kālepa was the first Navigator in Resident at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
For those of us fortunate enough to know Kālepa in the role of friend, he was exactly the person he appeared. Solid. Grounded. Dependable. Tireless in his work and joyful when at play. Plain spoken and honest even at considerable personal cost. He is deeply loved by so many and sorely missed.
Mahalo nui loa from the Baybayan ‘ohana to loved ones and friends for all of your expressions of aloha, pule and support.