Hōkūleʻa has always been a part of my life, but voyaging has been in my genealogy long before my time. The Paoa name is found all over the Pacific, from Rapa Nui to Aotearoa (New Zealand) to the beautiful island of Molokai. Renowned as watermen, Paoas share a sacred connection with the ocean. There is a sense of relaxation and calm whenever surfing a wave, fishing, or paddling a canoe. It’s natural because of one reason: I am a Paoa.
The year 2015 has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. From the ups of watching my nephews grow, completing the Ironman Boulder with my entire family, and finishing my first Malcolm Gladwell book, to the downs of missed voyaging opportunities, struggling job searches, and the passing of loved ones. Good and bad, it will be a year that I will never forget.
On August 8th 2015, my father Melvin Edward Lilikalani Paoa Jr. passed away doing what he loved, while with the person he loved, and in the place he called home. Along with the thousands of other Paoas, his passion was being out at sea. Being on Hōkūleʻa was his way of living, and you could see it in his eyes.
During this leg of Mālama Honua Worldwid Voyage from Cape Town, South Africa to to Brazil, mixed emotions fill me as it has been utterly bittersweet. Standing at the Cape of Good Hope or eating acquired taste such as kudu, crocodile, and ostrich are just a couple of things my father would have loved to do. Before this voyage, I had yet to sail longer than 12 hours. So you can say I have as much sailing experience as anyone. It has been over two weeks on the water, and I can now understand why he enjoyed it so much. Hōkūleʻa brings people to life. It is a mindset. You must be strong and self-motivating.
With such a great opportunity and experience ahead of me, I take on even greater responsibilities. I vow to bring gladness and knowledge to my generation and the generations to come. This is just the beginning.
Help us make history
As the mainstay of support to PVS, our members are allowing us to voyage beyond the boundaries of Polynesia to inspire a global movement to care for our earth.