Kiaora! I mean Iaorana! O wait, Aloha/Howzit brah!
Looking back at the last two months since Hikianalia was launched and the over 4,000 miles she has traveled, I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to be aboard for the whole journey and have experienced nearly every moment of her time on the water. As we approach Hilo, I now have to reflect on all the experiences that we’ve had on this waʻa, and am having a hard time putting into words all the things both crews have experienced since Aotearoa.
There’s been the blessing of the canoe itself and seeing Hikianalia touch the water for the first time, all the aloha the Maori people gave us while in their home, Uncle Nainoa telling us of Hōkūleʻa arriving in Aotearoa at Waitangi, visiting Uncle Hector in Aurere and seeing his giant star compass in his yard, putting the finishing touches on the canoe every day for two weeks straight making her ready to sail, the maiden voyage to Tahiti alongside the homecoming Faafaite, papa ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi/kepani and joke time with Uncle Bruce, Kealoha, Kaleo and Saki from 10pm-2am during leg one, freezing on the water at 35 degrees south, Uncle Gary’s Soup Kitchen, the arrival and welcoming ceremony in Mahina, sail training in Moorea with the leg two crew, all the moolelo of Moorea, enjoying all the music and mele of the Faafaite crew, leaving Tahiti for the pathway of our kūpuna, getting our butts whooped for a week straight by the ITCZ, Keli’s Aku Bone Lounge, seeing the stars change from Aotearoa to Tahiti and then to Hawaiʻi, all the thousands and thousands of hoailona for the past two months, hopefully soon to be seeing Moku o Keawe being pulled out of the water by Hikianalia, and many more that I have not mentioned.
For myself, Uncle Maka, Mike Taylor, Saki Uchida, and Hiapo Elderts, who have all been with the canoe since day one, it is almost a bittersweet ending to the first chapter of an amazing journey that will hopefully continue into the upcoming Worldwide Voyage. (Although for anyone that needs to find Uncle Maka, I think he’s made himself a new home on the canoe.) Since the beginning, the feeling I’ve had from Hikianalia is that all she wants to do is come home, so let’s all welcome her as she approaches her new puʻuhonua.