HOE WA’A IMUA KA’IE’IE WAHO KE ALA KA’I O KOU MAU KUPUNA …
Paddle our canoe forward across the Kauai Channel in the pathway of our Ancestors.
Just yesterday on the 26th of March of 2016 I became part of the Ohana that calls themselves the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society. How? Easy. We left Haleiwa Oahu at midnight and paddled to Kalapaki Kauai in 13 hours and 58 minutes. I’m joking about it being easy of course, but it was surely easy in comparison to the founders of the voyaging society. All I had to do was show up and be crazy enough to paddle all night and half the next day…
Mahalo Nui Pepe Trask, Matt Muirhead and Jamie Woodburn. These are the men who keep this alive in the name of Kendal who they lost 5 years ago. I never had a chance to meet the man but feel like I know him. Not only do I know his Wa’a Ohana but I’ve had the pleasure of selling two of my clients homes that Kendal built here on Kauai. As far as a Realtor is concerned Kendal’s work is the kind of home you feel comfortable putting your clients or your family into. They are the sturdiest and best laid out homes for family life here on Kauai. I can only imagine what kind of a guy Kendal was.
Also thank you to Stephenie Brown who got me the seat in the Wa’a. The second she heard that there was an opening she let me know and as we all know, timing is everything. I got Pepe on the phone and bam. I was locked in. SWEETNESS!
First of all I’ll just mention that the pictures don’t really match the words here. When you are getting ready to pull something like this off, the last thing you think about it social media or being a photographer. Plus almost half of our journey is under the cloak of darkness (pics don’t turn out well at all). I didn’t use my phone for the better part of two days. For those of you who know just how hard we are working here at Kauai Real Estate Group, you know that 2 days without contact with your superstar team is… Eternity.
This journey is about heart and toughness. It’s also about sending all your love and Aloha out to those that need you most. Those you love most. Even though Kendal Struxness is our brother who helped put together this whole group of voyagers, but every one of us on these adventures “brought someone else” in our heart with us. My heart is heavy right now. We’ve lost quite a few people close to us lately and overall emotionally it’s been a challenging last 6 months. You’d never think that paddling 100 miles from one island in middle of the Pacific ocean to another would actually cleanse you. But it does.
It centers you, it washes all the worries away and brings you into the present.
Every year I’ll come back to reconnect with the Wa’a and be present……
More than just a physical experience crossing the Ka ei’ei’ Waho channel is all about for me is all about where your mind is at. Your body will stroke the canoe because you don’t want to look weak for your brothers and sisters in the Wa’a with you but your mind. It races. Well, it raced for a while about all the events that were occurring in my life and then… It turned on me. Or at least it did in my case.
The first hour when we left here from Haleiwa around 12:25am was super peaceful. Both body and mind were in sync. I was relaxed and just waking up from the few hours of rest we had. I won’t bore you with the progression but eventually during the 4th hour about three inches up my arm from my left wrist I started feeling something burning. I came to find out after the paddle that it is a pulled tendon and nothing worse than that, but in the moment it hurt and that’s all my head needed to start going south on me. By the time we were into our 6th and 7th hour every stroke felt like there was a little lightning bolt running up my arm and then back down to my fingertips. I kept practicing tuning out the pain and focusing on the stroke but time and time again I remembered, I’m a newer paddler and I don’t have the muscle memory to rely on just my stroke alone. I kept reminding myself just how much of an honor it was to stroke this canoe. To be in the front looking out into pure blue water, shooting stars, Hoku Pa’a.
Just when things were starting to feel a little unbearable, the sun came up and revitalized my spirits!
Today I woke up a Voyager. I’m going to look at the ocean a little differently now. With even greater respect and Aloha than before.
Mahalo for reading,
More on Kendal: He has paddled and sailed outrigger canoes between all of the main Hawaiian Islands multiple times. Former president of the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society and board member of the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association.
In August 2006, 12 members of the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society – with a support crew and boat – paddled a six-man outrigger canoe from Mokumanamana to Laysan Island in the newly created Northwest Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. For 83 hours straight, two crews of six paddlers traded off to cover 461 miles.