Nahaku follows Na Hoku (The Stars)
The second portion of the journey of the voyaging wa`a (canoe) Hikianalia from Aotearoa (New Zealand) to Hawaii culminated in Hilo on Sunday, October 18, 2012. An eager greeting and protocol by families and friends set her onto a new path of becoming familiar with the home waters of her sister canoe, Hōkūle‘a. These two, according to master navigator Bruce Blankenfeld, “…are sister stars because they break the horizon together, and Hikianalia will be the first wa‘a, or traditional double-hulled canoe, to accompany Hōkūle‘a as an escort vessel.” In June 2013, the companions will embark on a four year worldwide mission “to navigate toward a healthy and sustainable future”.
Part of the mission of Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail is to protect and preserve ancient and historic trails. This “living” nationally recognized trail encompasses not just land but also water trails. Nahaku Kalei, staff member of Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, was directly involved with this significant preservation of ocean trails.
Nahaku was selected as a crew member to help sail the newest member of the ever increasing number of Polynesian canoes. At the last minute, she was asked and stepped up to become a watch captain. With an able canoe ohana (family), in 17 days the trip of approximately 2,300 nautical miles from Papeete, Tahiti (French Polynesia) to Hawai‘i between November 1 & 18, 2012 was completed. Their November 16 report noted that at sunrise the skies were clearing and they got their first sighting of Hōkūpa‘a (the North Star). Using natural navigational aids such as stars, sun, skies, waves, and birds, Nahaku followed the stars back to Hawaii.
On that sunny Hilo day, there were many favorable signs such as a gathering of about twelve honu (turtles) swimming offshore, schools of aholehole jumping along the reef, a sting ray, and a nene goose flying over the festivities. Then the voices and arms of the extended family of Hikianalia opened up to welcome her and Nahaku home. Ano ai ke aloha!