Crew Blog | Patrick Karjala: Mālama the Waʻa

Written by Patrick Karjala

We made landfall to Lahaina on Maui on Thursday, May 13 at about 3:20 AM after a fairly rough crossing from Oahu through the Kaiwi Channel.  During the crossing, we were continually swamped with rough waves splashing over the bow of the boat; fortunately Hikianalia is well built to handle these kinds of seas.  It was the first major crossing for our newest crew!

After we tied up to our mooring, the sun rose over the west Maui mountains, shining down into Lahaina town.  Sun shade was hoisted as we had breakfast of eggs and Portuguese sausage.  We set down a ladder and crew took turns taking a swim to cool off in the midday heat, and clean off.  Work was also done to mālama the wa’a; a new strap and pad for the hoe were constructed to hold it out of the water when not in use, as the existing line was frayed and falling apart.  Hatch lid stands were repaired to hold the hatches partway open for better airflow.  We have to continually perform upkeep on our wa’a.  We take care of her so that she can take care of us.

Hōkūle’a Safety Officer Archie Kalepa went up to his cabin on the southern slope of Haleakalā.  From there, he could see the channel of ʻAlenuihāhā. The whitecaps and trailing surf was visible from miles away, showing just how dangerous the channel is when the winds are strong; if it is visible from that far, then it must be absolutely huge up close.  Due to this, the decision was made to postpone the crossing to Hawai’i island for the time being.  Safety is always the most important part of life on the wa’a.

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