Hikianalia’s Hilo Departure

Kaipo KiahaBlog by Kaipo Kiaha

This morning some of us awoke before the sun, where a steady Hilo rain was pattering on the deck. This would turn out to be a blessing for us on our last morning, as once the sun rose, the clouds parted and the rain stopped. There was a feeling of somberness in the air as we all had the same thing on our mind: departure.

Uncle Gary Yuen made us a hearty breakfast of banana pancakes and pork omelettes with the leftover kalua pig from the night before, when the Keaukaha community hosted us for dinner tonight on the shore of Palekai, where we ate puaʻa, rice, watercress salad, and Uncle Gary’s stew.  ʻAwa was also shared, which should help us sleep well tonight on our last night on land.

At breakfast, Kālepa laid out the plan for the day and after breakfast we made ready to go to ʻImiloa Astronomy Center. Once we arrived at ʻImiloa, we gathered into their state of the art planetarium. Here, Kālepa spent a couple hours going over our sail plan in detail, as well as briefly reviewing the night sky at various latitudes, making sure to note the stars that each watch would be able to use. At the end, Watch Captain Kalani Kahalioumi gifted each crewmember with a nice green Hawaiʻi-Tahiti Hikianalia Crew dry fit shirt as well as a Keaukaha T-Shirt.

When we returned to Palekai a little before noon, a small crowd had already begun to gather. Mostly family and friends, members of the Hawaiʻi Island and ʻOhana Waʻa communities, and lots of keiki and kūpuna. We spent our last moments relaxing and spending time with those we would leave behind, before gathering as a crew on the waterline to pule as one ʻohana. Our crew, dressed in green, circled up as elders and leaders gave words of inspiration. Kālepa introduced his daughter as captain, and Kalā gave a moving speech, thanking her mentors and reminding all of us that we follow the footsteps of Papa Mau.

After the last pule, we said our final goodbyes (maybe two or three times over) and then headed back to Hikianalia. We pulled up anchor, let go of our offshore lines, motored out, then picked up tow in the bay. While under tow by the vessel Tuna Time, ʻawa was shared, and Uncle Gary cooked us some chicken papaya soup on rice and Jackie Meggs made a salad and her own dressing. We also had some more of that paʻi ʻai from Kalā Thomas and the Kānehūnāmoku Farm.

We towed down to Kumukahi as the sun set off our starboard beam. We have just broke tow and set our sails. We have the main and mizzen up, with the working jib on the outer head stay (appropriately named Palekai), and a storm job on the inner head stay. Our heading is Nā Leo Malanai, and we have Ke Kā o Makaliʻi in the sky, as well as Hōkūpaʻa to guide us south to our destination. Some of the city lights are still visible against the dark partly cloudy night sky, and these will be the last signs of land we will see for at least a couple weeks.

Our crew is feeling excited at the beginning of this journey, as we can only imagine what lies ahead for us. To all of you back home, mahalo for allowing us to go, and for making the dream possible.

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