As we embark upon this journey, we seek to live, grow and be “pili”.
1. nvi. To cling, stick, adhere, touch, join, adjoin, cleave to, associate with, be with, be close or adjacent; clinging, sticking; close relationship, relative; thing belonging to.
Sailing Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia through nā kōwā of our pae ‘āina has set the fertile foundation for the connections needed for a successful voyage. The Kaʻiwi, Kalohi, Kealaikahiki, Alalākeiki, and ʻAlenuihaha channel crossings allowed our waʻa and crew to be challenged, to build our relationships and connections – our pilina – necessary to support each other in our kuleana. Sailing together is a constant dance, where the crews trim the sails and adjust weight throughout the journey, in constant communication with the canoe. With each passing moment, crew and canoe meld to become one, working in harmony to achieve a common goal, to reach a common destination.
We become pili with the language of nature. With ka makani, ka moana, ka lewa lani. We are immersed in our surroundings and continue to refine our kilo practice, to see each detail, each subtle shift which may affect our course, balance our wa’a, balance ourselves so we can receive all that our journey will present to us. Seeing the sunrise, orienting the swells, and then aligning our course to carry us down to our destination, wikiwiki, a Kealaikahiki.
Photo: Chris Blake
As we travel the searoad of our kūpuna, we are reminded of the connective tissues that binds us to those we leave behind, those who provided the safety, nurturing, and love we needed to grow as voyagers, to have the strength to leave the dock. We leave them behind in Hawaiʻi, however they voyage with us in our thoughts and our dreams, bringing mana and intention to our journey down this heritage corridor to te poʻo o te feʻe nui.
We are also reminded of those who we carry with us, pili to these canoes throughout time. Prior to departure, we were able to aloha and activate our kūpuna. We called to Rudy, Wally, Piʻimauna, Hiʻiakaikeʻalemoe, Kamohoaliʻi, Lupenui, Hakipuʻu, Honolua, Te Ariki Tu, Tommy, Tumoanatane, Kawainui, Tautira, Kapu nā Keiki, Lacy, Byron, Mau, Eddie, Nainoa, Kiha Wahine o ka Mau o Malu Ulu o Lele, Kāne o Hōkūle’a o Kalani, Kupe, Kanaloakapulehu, Kanemilohaʻi, Ruapehu, Pelehonuamea, Mauiākalana, Mōʻīkeha, Hinare, Hekenukumai, Tongariro, Hiʻiakaikahoʻokele and the multitudes who have sailed before us. We honor them as akua who guide us to our destination, and who will also guide those who voyage for generations to come.
Building these connections is challenging work, and is essential. We trust and depend upon each and every crewmember for strength and protection as we work cohesively together to bring our destination closer and closer. As nā hōkū of the southern skies rise higher in the horizon, we approach our destination through our collective, as pili. We are one canoe, one crew voyaging across the one ocean that sustains life on this planet for all.
Chris Blake “Bahlahkay”