Learning Journey: Exploring Olowalu, Maui, June 23

Olowalu, Maui (Miki Tomita) —

We began our Olowalu journey with Keola Sequeira, one of the original craftsman of the double-hulled voyaging canoe.  Uncle Keola shared with us his research and experiences into hull design and canoe building of Mo‘olele, a 42-foot double-hulled sailing canoe and the soon-to-be-launched double-hulled voyaging canoe Mo‘okiha. Joined by members of the Olowalu Cultural Reserve, crew members learned about the history of canoe building in that historic Olowalu location.

Led by Uncle John Duey, we were blessed to lay our eyes upon the largest grouping of kiʻi pōhaku on Maui, at the base of Puʻu Kīlea.  As the crew moved quietly and respectfully to view the many images, Uncle John told us about the volunteer-led loʻi and ahupuaʻa restoration projects of the Olowalu Culture Reserve.

olowalu kiʻi pohaku

Ki‘i Pōhaku. Photo by M. Tomita

Uncle Charlie Lindsey led us through the lands that are kuleana to his family, pointing out key features in the landscape related to voyaging and star navigation.  He also recounted to us the history of the land, from its past as a thriving ahupuaʻa through its use for growing sugar cane, to a description of what he and his ʻohana envision as the future of the area.


Hiking a Ridge. Photo by M. Tomita

From this vantage point, we were able to simultaneously view Pu‘u Kukui, Haleakalā and Kaho‘olawe, and the shower-cloud bridge that brings moisture from Maui to Kaho‘olawe.

olowalu naulu

Shower-cloud bridge from Maui to Kaho‘olawe.. Photo by M. Tomita

We were moved by Aunty Rose Lindsey to think deeply about our purpose and intention as we make our Worldwide Voyage –about what our protocol and our canoe means to us, both the physical canoe and the canoe we sail into the future.  She asked us to consider how ready we are for a journey such as this, and to make ourselves ready as best we can in all ways, prioritizing our culture, our canoe and the safety of our crew – he waʻa he moku, he moku he wa‘a. (“The canoe is an island, and the island a canoe.”)

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