Our 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. watch is on deck and there are other crewmembers gathered around sharing stories and enjoying food and snacks. I’m sitting down on deck by the stern – it’s writing time and some of our crewmembers who are off of their watch are writing reflection pieces that are a required part of our sail. ʻAnakala Kalau Spencer Jr. says that he is old school and does not do computers. I tell him that I can type out his some of his notebook to share… and he quickly says that his dog ate his homework! We get a good laugh out of this conversation and then we move on to other stories.
I sat down next to him and started asking him questions. I learned today that he was asked to be a part of māmā Hōkūleʻa’s first journey to Tahiti. He had to decline the invitation because his father started a trucking business and he wanted to help him see his dreams come true. Kalau said that he had to take care of his ʻohana first before setting out with the waʻa. It must have been hard to let that opportunity pass, but I do understand that his kuleana with his family needed to take priority.
Crewmember Kalau Spencer standing in the moonlight in Aotearoa.
Kalau said that it took 40 years for his dream to come true. He was asked to come down to Aotearoa to help drydock Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia during the Worldwide Voyage. ʻAnakala said this second invitation was meant to be…that only then was it the right time for him since first being asked in 1976. He spoke about the time when he and ʻAnakala Bruce were having a drink looking at the waʻa when Bruce told him that it was Hōkūleʻa’s 40th birthday. ʻAnakala Kalau said he got chicken skin. He told me “never give up on your dreams, it will always come true…even if it is 40 years later”.
Since his time in Aotearoa, ʻAnakala Kalau has been sailing on Hōkūleʻa, Hikianalia, and also sailed aboard Gershon II, the escort vessel for Hōkūleʻa for much of the Worldwide Voyage. This man carries so many stories and memories.
And now Kalau is writing in his notebook. He is writing to his grandchildren so that they know what their grandfather is doing when he goes away to sail. There are some things too sacred to share and I know that his writings to his moʻopuna belong in this category. So I will simply continue to enjoy the stories that I have earned to hear as ʻAnakala and I continue to share our time on this voyage.